A HAIRDRESSERS has waved happy retirement to its “backbone” stylist with a £200 donation to charity.

Trimmers, on Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland, has seen the high street change around it, but less so much the salon’s staff, with many of whom cutting locals’ hair for decades.

Past and present stylists wished Helen Gail Lawson, known as Gail, off into retirement at 63 as her 34-year tenure has come to an end. With her, goes a £200 donation to the local branch of Marie Curie, a charity which offers care and support for people living with terminal illness.

Trimmers owner and friend Jean Wombwell, 67, put together an afternoon at the Thomas Wright House on 02022020 - the palindrome - to celebrate and show respect for Mrs Lawson’s time, patience and talent during decades of service.

In 1976, the pair previously worked together in a difference salon.

The salon and Mrs Wombwell have long tried to give back to the community where possible. Mrs Lawson “nearly cried” when learning of the donation that marked her departure.

She said: “The donation is just so brilliant and generous. Jean and the Trimmers team are just brilliant to work with and I’ve really enjoyed my years.

“Sunday afternoon was full of laughter and tears. Jean’s husband even said that I, as well as Peter who has been there for years too, are the backbones of the salon. It was such a lovely thing to say.

“I was very moved and have loved every minute if it. The whole afternoon was like 34 years crammed into one. I’ve learned so much from Jean both personally and professionally, as have the rest of Trimmers.”

Mrs Wombwell said: “It’s the end of an era. Quite emotional really but we’ll see her at all of our social gatherings.”

“In my retirement, I’m going to join a walking group and do a computer course, as well as popping into Trimmers at times. I’m going to miss all of the staff and customers,” Mrs Lawson finalised.

Elizabeth Varley, 71, Chairperson of the Bishop Auckland fundraising group said: “Jean and Trimmers has always supported us and this donation is extremely kind. It’s this generosity that has helped us raise £120, 000 in the six years we’ve been in Bishop Auckland.

“Over the years, there support has been everything. Jean brings a group to every event we hold, it’s very generous. The whole Trimmers team are lovely and I’m sure Jean is looking forward to her retirement.”