FOR more than four decades she has been busy styling the hair of thousands of grateful customers.

But now one of Romsey’s best-known and longest-serving hairdressers is putting down her scissors after 41 years in business.

Mary Greggains, who will turn 76 this year, will close the salon door for the last time at Made Marion, in The Hundred, on January 18.

Mary made the decision to retire after 61 years in hairdressing as she is about to convert the upper storeys of the premises into two apartments, and is awaiting final planning permission.

“We couldn’t do the alterations and remain open,” she explained.

The shop, which is a listed building, has no rear access and all the building materials and builders will have to go through the front door and the salon area.

Once the conversion is complete she hopes to rent out the ground floor for retail use. The most obvious new tenant would be a new hairdresser as Mary is leaving all the fittings intact.

She said her four staff had taken the news well.

Mary, who has served as both president of the Romsey Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the town’s retailers’ association, opened her first shop in Romsey in 1973. She has been passionate about the town ever since, buying her present premises on The Hundred in 1979.

Her first business was across the road from her current premises, at number 56-58, now the Wessex Cancer Trust shop, where she ran a hairdressers and a fashion boutique.

But asked what she plans to do in her retirement, Mary said she had no idea.

“When you are working hard all the time you haven’t time to think about things like that, but one thing is for certain I shall stay living in Romsey – it’s my home and I love it.”