Shop worker Irene is still go­ing strong

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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

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