After 44 years behind the counter, Ann Clark is leaving renowned newsagent Mitchells of Northallerton.

Ann only started working at the shop in Northallerton High Street for six weeks to cover staff illness, but stayed on to serve generations of dedicated customers.

Owner Mark Willoughby said Ann has been a long serving staff member beloved by customers. She was showered with flowers and gifts on her retirement, Mark presented her with one of Lucy Pittaway’s latest fine art prints and, on behalf of the staff, a giant food hamper packed with her favourite treats.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Ann says farewell at Mitchell's Newsagents

He said: “Ann has been a much-loved part of our team for more than four decades and will be hugely missed by everyone. She’s made friends with hundreds of our customers over the years and they’ve all appreciated her wonderful, cheerful service.”

Selling more than 600 magazine titles, everything from Fly Fishing to the Farmers Guardian, and dozens of local and national newspapers, including the D&S Times, Mitchells is one of the best-stocked independent newsagents in the North.

Ann said: “Originally, I came in for six weeks to cover for staff illness, and ended up staying 44 years. I’ve enjoyed every minute and will miss all the staff and customers.

“I’ve sometimes done the paper rounds myself in emergencies and have loved watching the shop develop over the years.”

Now Ann is looking forward to spending more time with her husband of 52 years, Peter, and family.