South Shields hairdresser carries out her final cut after 56 years

Margaret Sparks is retiring from hairdressing after 56 years.
Margaret Sparks is retiring from hairdressing after 56 years.

A teenager who followed her dream of becoming a hairdresser has retired from the profession – after 56 years.

Margaret Sparks had no idea when she stepped into the profession that she would be still cutting clients hair five decades on.

“We have so many happy memories we will take away with us,”

Margaret Sparks

Despite still loving the job, the 70-year-old decided to reluctantly call it a day and close up her salon in Wharton Street, Westoe, which she ran with her sister Brenda Sullivan.

The grandmother, from Harton House Road, South Shields, said: “It has been such a pleasure over the years and it’s been great to see the same clients coming in.

“It has been hard to give it up as the customers have become friends over the years. But the fact is I’m 70 and my sister Brenda is 68. We can’t go on forever.

“We have so many happy memories we will take away with us, clients birthdays, seeing the Queen when she passed during her visit to South Shields. We have been really lucky as we have had very loyal customers.”

Mrs Sparks says she always had a love for hair and after leaving school followed her auntie into the profession, starting her move into the world of hairstyling at the age of 15.

When her aunt retired she took on her clients and after a time opened up her own salon in Westoe Road in the back of a newsagents.

She stayed in the premises for four years before moving into a former wool shop next door where she stayed for 16 years.

She eventually moved into the premises where she retired.

“It was a sad day when I finally closed the doors.

“For some ladies it was the only place they had ever come to for their hair to be done.”