After an amazing 58 years of service to one business in Newton Stewart, florist Iris McLelland has now officially retired.
She started working at what is now The Flower Centre in Albert Street, as a wide-eyed 16-year-old fresh out of school. Down the decades, Iris has worked for six different employers and made bridal bouquets for three generations of some local families.
Iris was originally trained in the art of floral arranging by her first employer, the redoubtable Miss Allan, and found out quickly she had a real talent for it.
Her proud husband Willie told the Galloway Gazette: “Iris had been working with flowers for so long because, basically, she just loved her job. She has rarely had to take a day off and she even kept working from home when she had the two weans. The flowers would be brought to the house, Iris would make them up and I would take them back down to the shop!”
Now that she has finally retired, Iris is looking forward to spending more time in the garden and going to see her two grandchildren in Aldershot.
Iris’s final employer was current Flower Centre owners Richard and Jenni Chang. Jenni paid a heartfelt tribute to Iris, saying: “Iris worked for us for 12 years and she was just brilliant. You could trust her with anything as she was consistent, loyal and dedicated. I suppose you would call her ‘old school’. She was so adaptable as there was no computer when we took over but she learned those skills as well.
“We simply cannot replace her. She is a one-off.”