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Scole hairdresser Barbara Ludkin retires after almost 50 years



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The owner of a Suffolk hairdressers said it had been an 'emotional week' as she prepares put down her snippers after half a century on the job.

Barbara Ludkin will be looking forward to retirement after running the only salon in Scole for almost 50 years.

Barbara’s, in Bungay Road, was purpose built by Mrs Ludkins’ late father, Arthur Waterfield – the founder of road construction company Waterfield and Sons – all the way back in 1972.

Mrs Ludkin began hairdressing back in the 1970s, when her father built her the salon she still works in today. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022
Mrs Ludkin began hairdressing back in the 1970s, when her father built her the salon she still works in today. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022

“He had it built for me two months after I left school at 15 years old,” said Mrs Ludkin.

“I wasn’t a qualified hairdresser at the time, so I had someone work for me while I trained at Norwich City College for three years.

“It gradually turned into just me being there and, as there wasn’t another salon, it became a bit of an institution in the village.

“Even though he was so keen for me to do it, I don’t think my dad would have had any idea it would have lasted as long as it has,” she said of her father, who died in 1986.

Mrs Ludkin reflected on how hairdressing trends had changed over the years, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago.

“In the early days, it was all about perming hair, which is what I was qualified in,” she said.

“People would come in once a week to get a blow dry, but now they will get their hair done less regularly, and it is all about colours.

“We were very up to date for a lot of the years but, as time went on, I decided to keep to my traditional styles.

“Since the pandemic, a lot of the older generation don’t come out to have their hair washed and blow dried any more.”

Mrs Ludkin is now looking forward to putting her feet up and enjoying her retirement.

She said it had been tearful week as she prepares to hand over the keys at the beginning of next month.

“It’s been a very emotional week,” she said. “There’s been a lot of tears shed, but that was to be expected.

“I can name a lot of people who have been with me regularly over the years, and these are my friends really, rather than customers.

“I’ve really appreciated the support.

“I can honestly say that over the years, I’ve had very little time off – the odd holiday here and there. I had just six weeks off when I had my daughter.”

Mrs Ludkin will be handing over the keys to Jane Spillings, who has been running Jane’s Hair and Beauty out of the Denny Centre, in Diss, for 16 years.

“I’m very confident that she’ll supply a good service to the local people,” added Mrs Ludkin.

Mrs Ludkin will be handing the keys of her salon over to experienced hairdresser Jane Spillings (right). Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022
Mrs Ludkin will be handing the keys of her salon over to experienced hairdresser Jane Spillings (right). Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022

Mrs Spillings, who has more than 35 years’ experience hairdressing, will also be introducing beauty treatments to the business, which will take the name of her former salon in Diss.

“I heard Barbara was retiring and one of my customers got in touch with me who knows her, and it all went from there,” said Mrs Spillings.

“I’ll be doing everything here; people of all ages and styles, and we’ll also be offering beauty treatments, too.

“I’m a little nervous, but am looking forward to a new venture.”