After 23 years there will be a new face at the helm of the Cancer Research shop in Enniskillen as Pearl Priddey retires from the shop.

Since its opening in 1996, Pearl has been store manager, a job that she heard about by chance one day.

“I was a Rainbow leader because our Church had Scouts and Guides and all that,” explained Pearl.

“The Scouts were actually celebrating 10 years and we had a Church service and a dinner in the Lough Erne Hotel in Kesh and a guy called Benny B. Stewart was there and he was a lay preacher and we were talking about cancer or whatever and he was the President of the committee and was saying they were opening a shop in Enniskillen about a year or so.

“I said I would love to do that job and he said to watch out for the job being advertised and I did but I missed it in our local papers but I saw it in the Sunday Life.

“I applied for it and I got an interview at 4pm one evening and I was told at 8pm I had the job and I had to make up my mind there and then. It was the right move I have to say. I never looked back.”

Pearl has fond memories of her 23 years from the people she has met, worked with and the impact she has been able to make on the fight against cancer with the shop.

In her first week the shop broke the UK sales record. One Christmas the shop made £10,000 in one week.

“I was so proud when I walked into a conference in Edinburgh and saw Enniskillen Shop £10,000 sales in a week on a screen.”

There were awards aplenty such as the Justice in the Community Award presented in Stormont by former Alliance leader, David Ford and the Passion for Charity Award.

And along with these rewards, Pearl also got immense satisfaction from seeing the volunteers coming in and making a lasting impression in the shop, in particular Mary Elliott.

“It was nice seeing people who have been affected by cancer come in and give up their time. Mary Elliott started with us when we opened our doors and she had cancer. It was lovely working with her. She won Volunteer of the Year for Northern Ireland and the UK. Sadly she passed away.

“We have had a few volunteers who have had cancer who had sadly all passed on.”

Pearl herself had her own experience of cancer when her husband Roy was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2005 and spent some time in the City Hospital, Belfast but thankfully he has been in remission since.

And she knows the importance of shops like the one in Enniskillen in the fight against cancer. And she knows that there is always the need for more volunteers.

“I’m so proud to work for the UK’s top cancer charity. It was hard work but rewarding and it’s great to see so much progress made in both research and treatment of various cancers.

“It’s rewarding seeing people coming in and being a community and I got great satisfaction from my job. Fermanagh people are so generous. Over the years we have made a lot of money through fundraising and Fermanagh people are always noted for their generosity.

“We just need more volunteers to help with the fight against cancer.”

But for now Pearl is looking forward to getting stuck into her crafts, reading and perhaps some more charity work. But she will always look fondly on the last 23 years and the memories she has made.

“It’s like a hobby that I got paid. That’s what I used to say to my old area manager.

“I have to say it was very rewarding I have enjoyed the most of it. I will miss it and I will miss the banter and miss the people because I have met some really brilliant people over the years.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the many customers, donors, collectors and volunteers past and present who have supported me through this busy but enjoyable time.

“You will always be a special part of all my best memories.”