Goodbye Mrs Littlewood

LITTLEWOODS in Ipswich has closed its doors for good - and one long-server bidding farewell is the aptly named Mrs Littlewood.Brenda Littlewood joined the store in time for its 1987 opening and was still there when it served its last customers on January 7 and then shut up for good on Thursday.

LITTLEWOODS in Ipswich has closed its doors for good - and one long-server bidding farewell is the aptly named Mrs Littlewood.

Brenda Littlewood joined the store in time for its 1987 opening and was still there when it served its last customers on January 7 and then shut up for good on Thursday.

Over her almost three decades of service, fellow workers have not been able to resist the odd curtsey.

While back in the early days, people would read her name badge - and think she owned the shop.

As Littlewoods' days in Ipswich come to an end, Mrs Littlewood gathered with eight other long-serving ladies to look back on their years.

Littlewoods, which can trade until June, is disappearing as a high street brand after the retail arm of the

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company was sold to Primark's owners earlier this year, although some stores are being converted to Primark ones.

Mrs Littlewood, 60, of Broomhayes, Ipswich, said: “I did have a certain affection for the store when it first opened - it had my full name on the badge.

“When the store opened, it was really pretty, really done up nice and it knew how to look after its staff.

“Now we have more paddling pools than Toys R Us, no canteen and not really many staff facilities.

“The best bit has been the team work and the friends. The worst day was when we served our last customers.”

Janette Lawley, 63, of Parkers Place, Martlesham Heath, said: “It's changed drastically. It would have been very nice if they could have refurbished the store.

“The best bit has been the friendship and the companionship. The worst bit has been closing down, the lack of facilities recently and to see stock you have taken care of being pushed and pulled about.”

The store's sales manager, Matthew Warner, 28, said: “I just feel really quite sad for these girls - they have been together for so long.”

While Charles Culley, 46, store manager for six years, added: “Competition from the superstores is just killing everybody.”

What memories do you have of Littlewoods in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

When Littlewoods in Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre, Ipswich, first opened in May 1987, it had 311 fellow staff and eight managers. When it closed for good on Thursday, it had 29 - three of whom had been there from the start.

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