Residents in the Cregagh area of east Belfast have expressed their sadness over the closure of a local hairdressers.
Deirdre Montgomery opened Jet Set hairdressers in 1974 but has been forced to close it after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Two of her friends, Catherine and Pat, who have been working alongside her for 28 and 22 years respectively, are also retiring.
Deirdre, who was close to tears as she told the Community Telegraph of the reasons behind the closure, said that the decision had “broken my heart”.
“The girls were set to retire on July 12 and then I was diagnosed with cancer so my decision was made for me,” she said.
“It has really broken my heart. The people who have been coming to me for over 20 years are not only customers, they have become like second family to me.
“I have received cards, phone calls and many visits during my time in hospital and it has meant so much to me.”
Deirdre said everything had happened so quickly that she had been unable to give everyone a proper send off for the closure.
“We had a party after 20 years in business and I wanted to do the same again but I simply can't because of the cancer,” she |continued.
“I know many prayers have been said for me and I can honestly say that they have been answered. I have been told that the cancer has been taken away, but that it could come back again.”
Deirdre said she had lovely memories and had met many characters during her time there.
“Lots of friendships have formed. In fact a customer who is in her nineties and has been coming to get her hair cut with me since I first opened came and visited me in hospital last weekend.”
Deirdre's mum Maudie actually left her job to come and help her when she first opened and continued to work there until her seventies. “She was my backbone,” she said. “Pat and Catherine have also been brilliant and I don't know what I would have done without them,” she added.
One customer, who contacted the Community Telegraph about the closure, said: “People from the Cregagh Road and estate will miss the service Jet Set has provided over the years. It has been a regular meeting place for many to discuss family, friends, problems and celebrations whilst having their hair done. The business and staff have been a great resource in the community.”