End of an era for Buxton charity shop worker

Sandra Allard, retiring manager of the Age UK shop in Buxton.
Sandra Allard, retiring manager of the Age UK shop in Buxton.

Sandra Allard has spent her life surrounded by people - and that is what she will miss the most now she has retired.

The 62-year-old has taken early retirement from her role as manager of the Age UK shop in Spring Gardens after 16 years at the helm.

Sandra with her flowers, which were a leaving present.

Sandra with her flowers, which were a leaving present.

She said: “It is going to be strange not going into work and seeing the staff and the regulars, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with family and friends.”

Nothing is more important to Sandra than spending time with her family.

She said: “We do everything together, from holidays to days out. The children will be there and so will the grandchildren.”

The mother-of-two also has four grandchildren and is affectionately known as ‘Nanny Sanny’ - with the latest addition to the family born just this month.

Sandra, from Harpur Hill, said: “It’s just stuck now, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even my friends jokingly call me Nanny Sanny now.”

Buxton born and bred, Sandra met her husband David at a party and they married two years later. Next month will mark their 39-year anniversary.

Sandra said: “It was a very rainy day but then again we did get married in Buxton in the spring, so we took a chance.”

Now Sandra and David take exotic holidays in search of sunshine and relaxation.

She said: “We have been on some lovely holidays, to Cuba, Mexico and the Maldives. I like just getting away from it all.”

Sandra re-evaluated her life after she suffered a heart attack at the age of 49. After a second one seven years ago she cut back her shifts in the shop from five days to three.

She said: “Life is for living and if I don’t live and enjoy the moment then I may as well have gone after the first heart attack.

“I do try and live for every moment. I want my grandchildren to follow their hearts and never stop dreaming.

“Life can be a struggle, but looking at how far David and I have come, the lows make the highs so much more wonderful. I have my health and now I have the time since taking retirement.”

She plans to spend her time with David and be on baby-sitting duties when needed.

Saying goodbye to the people

Sandra is a familiar face to many in the town, having previously occupied the role of club stewardess at the Buxton Royal British Legion club for 12 years.

She said: “I love people, I love chatting to them and hearing their stories. Working in the legion, the people had so many fascinating stories of the war.”

She left that job as she wanted more of a home life, but later took on the role at the Age UK shop in Spring Gardens.

Sandra said: “I have really enjoyed working there and it was my life for 16 years and I will miss everyone. The whole team works so hard and are always smiling.”

Her last day at the shop was on Wednesday February 15 and she was given a rousing send-off with cake, balloons and flowers.

She added: “Buxton has changed so much over the years. It is now much busier and there are more charity shops than when I first started in the job, which does make it harder, but everyone seems to make it work.”