'Emotional' final day after 69 years for veteran Cromer shop owners
- Credit: Danielle Booden
'Emotional and delighted' were how a Cromer couple were feeling on their final day of running K Hardware - after 69 years in the trade.
Paul and Yvonne Kirkham opened their Church Street store for the final time, marking the end of an era for the town's retails scene.
Mrs Kirkham said that on the final morning they opened (Wednesday, December 22) they were greeted by scores of regular customers and old friends who had come to wish them well.
She said: "We had lots of people come in to say farewell.
"We've had some wonderful comments.
"We were very pleased and delighted. It's very emotional, especially for my husband because it has been his life's work."
The couple were also given some vouchers from members of staff and others to spend on gardening - one of their great passions outside the shop.
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Mr Kirkham's father started the business in 1952, and his son joined him aged just 14. Mrs Kirkham started lending a hand at the business after they married in the 1960s, and officially joined the firm in 1997.
The business expanded to include a builders' merchant, a laundry, hardware store branches in Sheringham and Aylsham, and a toy department above the Cromer branch.
Mrs Kirkham said they were planning to spend Christmas with members of their extended family, before taking things easy for a while.
She said: "We're hoping that next year we'll be able to travel, at least in this country, if not abroad, we'll have to see what restrictions there are then.
"We'd enjoy going to Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Devon, Cornwall and Scotland, all of the beautiful places in this country.
"We're also hoping to go to Ireland for the first time, and if we could go to Switzerland, that would be fantastic. We love the mountains there. We've got lots in mind.
"We'll enjoy life and in the summer, we've got the garden."
Mrs Kirkham said they would miss their members of staff, who had become like family over the years. They included Trudie Hamley, Lorraine Creasey and Gail Beck.