Etta has sold her final Falkirk Herald

Etta with store owners Lee and Stuart McNeil and regular customer Robert Matthews
Etta with store owners Lee and Stuart McNeil and regular customer Robert Matthews

Etta Napier is more used to selling the news than making it.

The well-kent shopworker retired on Saturday after working at the general store in Brightons Cross for 35-and-a-half years.

In that time, her favourite local weekly newspaper has published more than 1700 issues.

When Etta (70) first began work at the shop in 1977, the latest edition of The Falkirk Herald would be delivered late on a Friday afternoon - but that’s far from the only change in consumer habits she’s witnessed over the years.

“The style of the shop has changed completely,” she said.

“When I started, there was a counter running around the walls, and most of the items for sale were behind it.

“You would spend a lot of time making up the newspapers in the morning. And back then, we didn’t sell alcohol.

“Now the shop is a Spar, the range of stuff we sell is much greater.

“The shop is busier now than it’s ever been - but then Brightons has almost doubled in size.”

Etta, who lives in Maddiston, was formerly an employee at the John Menzies wholesale division in Grahamston.

She began working at the shop in Brightons Cross when it was owned by the late Jim Forsyth.

Her employers for the last 22 years have been Stuart and Lee McNeil.

Lee said: “All the staff and regular customers are very disappointed to see Etta go. She’s well known and loved by everyone who comes in here. She always has a smile on her face when she’s serving.

“And she’s not had a single day off sick in all the time that we’ve been here. We once tried to send her home because she had a bad back, but she said that it would be better for her if she could continue standing up and moving about.”

Lee added: “And if she finds herself bored, she knows that she’ll always be welcome back!”

The Spar staff marked Etta’s retirement with a farewell meal at The Three Kings last weekend.

Etta, who has three children, says that she has no set plans for her retirement - but does hope to take more holidays with her husband Jack, a retired electrical engineer.