One of the best-loved shops in Long Sutton, Pat’s Flowers, will have a new lease of life as a tea shop selling local crafts.
Florist Pat Pitkin (74) is heading for a well-deserved retirement after 32 years and newcomer Marian Jenkins hopes to reopen the doors selling traditional afternoon teas in late August or early September.
Pat and her son, Lloyd, have been working in the Market Place shop seven days a week and are looking forward to catching up on all the holidays they never found time to have.
“We are going to do four or five cruises a year and enjoy ourselves,” said Pat. “We have been stuck in here for so long.”
Pat’s Flowers has been at the heart of many celebrations as well as family losses over the years, catering for weddings, funerals and more.
“We have had some really lovely customers,” said Pat. “You get so you are really friendly with them. I have seen these little children born and then we have done their weddings.”
Although Pat is calling it a day, she says: “I have enjoyed every moment here. Lloyd and I want to thank our many customers for their loyalty and friendship.”
Pat likes all flowers, but thinks yellow roses are perhaps her favourite.
She first became interested in flowers because the family grew them at home along with vegetables and strawberries.
Born in Tydd St Mary, Pat met her then future husband, Ivor, when they were at school together in Sutton St James.
Ivor, known as Titch because he weighed only 2lbs at birth, sadly passed away seven years ago.
Pat and Lloyd will keep their home above the Pat’s Flowers shop because they enjoy being so close to the town’s amenities.
Marian, known as Mal, and her husband Mickey moved to Lincolnshire seven months ago and settled in Gedney.
Former hotelier Mal has long had her heart set on opening a tea shop.
Mal said: “I want to do afternoon teas, nice teas, and I want to keep it quite traditional rather than commercial.
“I don’t intend doing lunches.”
She’s yet to decide the opening hours.
Work on converting the shop will be carried out in July and August.
Mal hopes also to sell locally made crafts, perhaps including small items of furniture, as an added attraction at the shop.
She is looking forward to trading in Long Sutton because it’s such an attractive town with a strong sense of community.
Mal and Mickey found themselves settling in Lincolnshire unexpectedly after 14 years in France.
“The house where we are now came up out of the blue and we like it,” said Mal.