Sandra’s new prescription

BOWING OUT: Sandra Parker is retiring after more than 50 years working at Highfield Road's pharmacy
BOWING OUT: Sandra Parker is retiring after more than 50 years working at Highfield Road's pharmacy
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Most people will have seen changes in their jobs and workplaces during their time, but few will have seen quite as many as Sandra Parker.

The 68-year-old has worked at Whitworths Pharmacy, on Highfield Road, in South Shore, for a staggering five decades!

She first started at the chemist’s shop – in those days it had a different name as it has changed ownership four times – in her late teens.

And next week, after more than 50 years in the job, she will retire.

She now works two days a week and will leave on August 21.

She said: “I suppose it was sort of in my blood.

“The first owner, Mr Jones, had an opticians and used to do eye appointments. I was friends with his daughter and we, along with my twin sister Valerie, used to play upstairs and try on all the frames.

“Also, my mother had not been aware she was having twins and one day had slipped and fallen three steps. So she had gone to ask Mr Jones for his advice and he told her go home and call the doctor.

“My sister and I arrived two months premature. And it was Mr Jones who had helped my mum.

“When I was in my teens, I heard there was a job going, so I walked over the road and asked if I could work in the shop.

“In those days, it was my job to serve customers, I didn’t have all the duties I have today.

“At that time women didn’t. You wouldn’t have seen a woman in the dispensary, it was usually an older man who was the pharmacist and his male assistant.

“The shop changed hands several times and was eventually bought by John Whitworth. He was a lovely man, very generous.”

Naturally, Sandra has seen countless changes over the years.

“When the shop first opened, it didn’t look anything look how it looks today. It was full of the little wooden drawers and jars.

“We didn’t have fridges in pharmacies in those days.

“I can remember the birth control pill coming in, I remember the Asian flu outbreak.

“But the biggest change has to be computers.

“We used to hand-write the labels on the medicines. You could never do this now!

“I will miss it and the customers as – it sounds cheesy – I enjoy helping people and knowing I might have made a difference.

“But I will be keeping busy with fundraising for my church, St Christopher’s and St Nicholas, walking, gardening and seeing my nephews and my great-niece and nephew.”