IPSWICH: For the last four decades, Christines Florist has become something of an institution within the community.
It must be among the few remaining establishments in the town to count its past customers as Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.
Christine Hurst was just 19 when she set up the shop in Bramford Road and business is still going strong as it celebrates its 40th anniversary on Monday.
Mrs Hurst, 58, who lives above the shop, was inspired to become a florist by her father, Norman Cawston, who owned Station Nurseries in Trimley St Martin.
She had been watching her father working with flowers from a young age and wanted to join him as soon as she finished school but he wanted to ensure she had enough experience first. After completing a diploma in floristry and working in another florists for six months, her father found the perfect location for a new shop.
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She said: “I thought I would leave school and work for him but he wanted me to have more experience before I started helping out with funerals.
“He found this place and said it would do quite well because it was on the main route out of Ipswich.”
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Mrs Hurst, who has four children and three grandchildren, added: “My first ever customer was a lady called Sandy May (nee Baxter) and we did her wedding. We must have done a pretty good job because she sends everyone to us.
“We have had great support from a range of customers that keep returning. My first account customer was Sir Alf Ramsey, and other early business accounts were the East of England Co-op and GRE (Now AXA).”
She puts the success of the business down to “loyal staff, a great backing team and support of the family”.
The whole family, including her father, who is now 84, help out at busy times from doing deliveries to cutting flowers.
She said: “The day I wake up and do not want to do it is when I know it will be time to give up.”
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n Opinion – page 6