Staff branch out to re­place wi­dow’s sen­ti­men­tal gift

The Oban Times - - NEWS - KATIE CARABINE kcara­bine@oban­

STAFF at Fort Wil­liam’s M&Co fash­ion shop have helped an In­ver­lochy woman re­place the last gift her late hus­band gave her.

The work­ers helped An­nemarie MacLach­lan track down a re­place­ment faux fur coat which she had re­ceived from her hus­band Don, who died sud­denly in Novem­ber.

The cou­ple had planned to go to Vi­enna that month with their son Jon and his fi­ancée Kerry, but in the cir­cum­stances Mrs MacLach­lan de­cided not to go.

In­stead, the trio took a trip to Ed­in­burgh for three days.

It was only then, while look­ing for her win­ter coat for the trip, that Mrs MacLach­lan re­alised she did not have it.

She thought she must have left it some­where dur­ing a visit to Bal­later the pre­vi­ous April.

The cou­ple went to An­erdeen­shire burgh for a break to cel­e­brate Mr MacLach­lan’s 60th birth­day and to see son Jon take part in a 10k race in Bal­moral. It was here that the last pho­to­graphs of Mrs MacLach­lan wear­ing the coat were taken.

Af­ter calling the Hil­ton Lodge in Bal­later, where they had stayed, to see if she had left it there with no luck, Mrs MacLach­lan searched high and low in her house, in­clud­ing the loft, but to no avail.

She said: ‘I just don’t know what I did with it. I thought that was it.’

With the coat hold­ing great sen­ti­men­tal value, Mrs MacLach­lan ws re­luc­tant to give up, so in De­cem­ber, while vis­it­ing fam­ily in Aberdeen­shire, she vis­ited the Stone­haven branch of M&Co where she was told there were none left in stock.

She did, how­ever, get de­tails of the coat as a staff mem­ber at that store had bought the same one her­self.

When she re­turned home, Mrs MacLach­lan took the de­tails into the Fort Wil­liam branch, where she is a reg­u­lar cus­tomer and has taken part in the shop’s char­ity fash­ion show, and store man­ager Kerry All­man emailed ev­ery branch in Scot­land, as well as head of­fice, to try and find a re­place­ment coat.

Ms All­man said: ‘An­nemarie is one of my best cus­tomers. She comes in and buys whole wardrobes for hol­i­days and spends hours in the shop, so I’d got to know her re­ally well.’

She says she was be­gin­ning to lose hope when the store at St Enoch’s Cen­tre, Glas­gow, said they had the coat in the right size.

‘When I told An­nemarie she burst into tears,’ she said

Mrs MacLach­lan col­lected the coat on Satur­day.

‘It’s been amaz­ing and just won­der­ful,’ she said. ‘What they’ve done is like some­thing off the telly. M&Co pulled out all the stops on a very sad oc­ca­sion and it was a very happy end­ing.’

Ms All­man added: ‘It’s just great. All of us wanted to get one for her be­cause it’s An­neMarie and we’ve all got to know her over the years.’

Pho­to­graph: Iain Fer­gu­son, The Write Im­age.

An­nemarie MacLach­lan in her new coat with M&Co man­ager Kerry All­man, back left, and as­sis­tant man­ager Tay­lor Mathe­son.

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