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End of an Era at Woodhall Spa

Published on 02 January 2020 10:45 AM

RETIREMENT beckons for two of Age UK Lindsey's Woodhall Spa retail volunteers, Pat and Ray Darby, who have worked with the charity for the last eight years.

The well respected retail couple have contributed two days each week since they began, winding down to one day in recent weeks before finally hanging up their last coat hangers during the run-up to Christmas.

Ray, who turned 82 this December, said: "Vounteering was something I had always fancied doing and when we saw a window sign that said this shop was going to be an Age UK shop, we expressed our interest.

"Pat and I were the first volunteers here and we have, over the years, really enjoyed talking to people who pop in for a chat, or to say hello, and working alongside the staff."

The couple, who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 2020, have a large family and are looking forward to spending more time with them, in addition to having a lie in, according to joker Ray!

Pat, who is 77-years-old, said: "When we dropped our hours to one day a week, we got used to it and we will get used to not coming in at all, though it will take a bit of time."

Although supporters of the national charity, in addition to Age UK Lindsey, Ray remains proud of the fact that the money raised in the shop is used to fund local projects for older people.

"We have never really had to use the charity for ourselves, personally, but you never know if we might need it one day and we know there are lots of people out there who use the befriending services, advice services and much more," Ray explained.

Shops Area Manager Sarah Roberts said: "There will be a huge gap - Pat and Ray are the Woodhall Spa shop! When we think of it, we think of Pat and Ray!

"Pat is great at displays while Ray is wonderful at quips with customers. They are really into their 40s music as well, and people drop by to see what they are playing on that day, whether it is Bing Crosby or Al Bowlly. They particularly love helping people to find outfits for the Woodhall Spa Forties event.

"They will be greatly missed; we have enjoyed their honest opinions and valuable input as the years have gone by."

While both Age UK Lindsey shops in the town will continue to trade as normal, the retirement of Pat and Ray is the end of an era for this friendly and popular Station Road outlet. But you never know; Ray could be spotted propping up the end of the counter on the odd day he has a spare moment to chat, so keep your eye out!

With a twinkle in his eye, clad in a festive knit and with a Santa hat perched on his head, Ray finished his shift with a little message for his Age UK Lindsey colleagues and the customers he has met along the way: "Thank you everyone, for being so nice."

We couldn't have put it better ourselves.