Shop worker Irene is still going strong
WHILE most 8 9 - y e a r- o l d s have been enjoying their hard earned retirement for almost 30 years, sprightly Irene Astbury is still working full time at her family pet shop.
Irene, who turns 90 in August, works 40 hours a week at Pet Food Supplies on Moss Lane and is thought she could be the oldest woman working in the UK.
Macclesfield born and bred, she opened the business 35 years ago with her husband Les, but says she has no plans to pack in yet.
She said: “I don’t see any reason to give up work.
“I love coming here and seeing my family and all the friends who I have made over the years.
“I don’t work because I have to, I work because I want to.”
The store, which was previously The Coin Wash laundrette, was transformed into the pet food shop when Les, who worked as a sales rep for Spratts pet food, decided to take it on.
Les died in 2007 and Irene asked her grandchildren Gayle and Stuart Parks to take the reigns.
But while not technically ‘the boss’, Irene has continued to work Monday to Friday, 9 until 5pm.
Irene, who lives with her daughter, Lynn, in Sandbach, said: “When people realise I am still working they say ‘good on you’, which is nice.
“I realise I might be one of the oldest women still working and that makes me feel good. My gran lived until she was 102, so I’m hoping I’ve got quite a few years left in me yet. I’m not going anywhere.”
Granddaughter Gayle, 30, from Sutton, said Irene is very unique. She said: “She really enjoys coming here and getting stuck in. She’d be bored silly sat at home. This is her life. She loves chatting to all the customers. She has served generations for the same families.”
Mum-of-three Gayle has fond memories of helping out in the shop when she was a little girl. History is now repeating with her five-year-old daughter Evie doing the same. She said: “Evie loves sitting at the till trying to help us out. It’s lovely to think we have three generations of the same family in the shop at the same time.” This year Pet Food Supplies celebrates its 35th birthday.
On Sunday it staged a pet show at the Moss Rose. The event raised more than £400 which will be split between Windyway Animal Sanctuary, East Cheshire Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care.
●● Irene Astbury working at Pet Food Supplies on Moss Lane