A BAKER who has been ‘part of the furniture’ on a Barnsley high street for close to three decades has hung up her apron as the shop she has run comes under new ownership.

Shirley Fearon, 63, has managed Potts Bakers on Wombwell’s High Street for 28 years, but she baked her last loaf of bread last week as another firm looks to take over the shop.

The sale of the shop, which will see its name changed and new staff brought in, is imminent - and Shirley decided it was a good time to bow out and take voluntary redundancy.

Shirley, of Maytree Close in Darfield, said she would have to hold back tears as she said goodbye to colleagues and customers who she has known for years.

“I’m still happy in my job and I’ve enjoyed working here,” she said.

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“I’ve worked with lots of lovely staff and got on with the customers who I’ve known for years.

“It’s a proper little bakers, and the older people want proper bread you can only get somewhere like this.

“It will be very strange, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone.

“I’ll take some time to see how it goes, if I don’t like it I’ll get a part-time job somewhere.”

Shirley, a former dinner lady at Kirk Balk school, started at the bakery in her early 30s and worked her way up to becoming manager.

She says she was given the freedom to run the shop as she felt fit, and the approach has clearly been appreciated by her customers, who have sent her cards, bottles of wine and other gifts.

Beverley Dorling, 53, has frequented the shop for ‘many years’.

“I didn’t realise it had been that long,” said Beverley, of Margaret Road.

“She’s a really lovely lady and can’t do enough for you. I would class her as a friend.

“It’s quite a big loss to the high street, she’s been part of the furniture.”

Shirley said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family in her retirement.