'They're like family': Langleys' Linda retires after 51 years
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Since the age of 15 Linda Ashwood has been the smiling face of historic Norwich toy shop Langleys.
But after 51 years with the business, Mrs Ashwood has announced her retirement, with colleagues describing the news as "bittersweet".
Mrs Ashwood, 66, said: "I remember about a week after I started working at Langleys a person from the government came in and announced we were moving to decimalisation - pounds and pennies instead of shillings.
"I'd learned it in school a couple of weeks before so I had to teach everyone how to do it - things have really changed since the 70s.
"We were worried about the Internet when it first came in, but when you do this job long enough you learn to adapt."
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Mrs Ashwood, from Brundall, has worked in virtually every unit on one side of the Royal Arcade as Langleys moved shops over the years and has shared her expertise with the "youngsters" on the team.
She said: "I've always made an effort to take the younger ones under my wing - I remember what it was like. It makes me proud seeing them teach other people on the team what I've taught them. I don't have children of my own, so they became my family.
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"The highlight for me is seeing children coming in who have never been in a proper toy shop. Their eyes just light up - and then over the years you see them bring their own kids in."
"My advice to anyone who wants a long and happy career is to just enjoy it. It sounds really simple, but just try to enjoy what you're doing and the people you're working with so when you get home at the end of the day you know you've done a good day's work."
Langleys' owner Steve Scott said: "I have been with Langley's for five years and that is a mere blink of an eye when compared to working every single day with the same company.
"It's bittersweet to see Linda go and we wish her the very best."
Mrs Ashwood added: "Langleys has been running for about 130 years - I was asked the other week if I've been working here since they launched."