Boots employee Mavis Betts ready to retire after 36 years of service at chemist's King Street branch in South Shields

A shop assistant with one of the best-known faces in South Tyneside retail is to retire after 36 years of service.

Since 1986 Mavis Betts has been at Boots on South Shields’ King Street, where she works on the beauty counter. Before that she worked at the TSB in Barrington Street, but left when she had her children: Chris, Gary and Danielle.

This is a very special year for Mavis, who lives in South Shields. As well as retiring, she has celebrated her golden wedding with husband John, when family celebrations included a holiday in Spain. She also turns 70 in December.

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Often instantly recognised around the town, she will clock off at Boots for the final time on Tuesday, December 6 and will miss colleagues and customers as much as they will miss her. Her leaving ‘do’ will be left until after Christmas.

Mavis has been a loyal employee on Boots's beauty counter in King Street.

Mavis, 69 and grandmother to Robbie and Luke, told the Gazette: “It’s been absolutely amazing with some wonderful people. Really that’s why you stay in the job; because you like it. I’ve always loved what I do. The work family have definitely been a big bonus, because they’ve all been lovely.

“I can’t go anywhere without somebody stopping me. It’s lovely. Your customers become friends and they know who you are. I probably know as much about the customers as I do about myself. They tell you all kinds when they’re being served.

“Everybody I’ve worked with contributed and everyone holds a special memory for me. I won’t mention anybody special, because they’re all special.”

Mavis has plans for retirement, but apart from holidays there is something she is particularly looking forward to.

Mavis Betts with her colleagues at Boots in King Street, where she is about to retire after 36 years.

She added: “My husband has an allotment, so when we had lockdown he kindly invited me to go there. At first I thought ‘no way’, but once I went I absolutely loved it.

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“Now I’m full-on head gardener. I’ve got the wellies, the shovel, the head gardener’s mug – everything. So that’s where I’ll probably spend most of my time.”

Store manager Karen White said: “What we’ll most miss about Mavis is her warmth and that she’s generous to a fault. Her warm presence will be missed by colleagues and staff alike. I can’t say enough. She deserves a long and happy retirement.”

Mavis Betts - back in the day at Boots.
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Mavis intends to spend more time with husband John at their allotment when she retires.