A BOUTIQUE owner who has raised around £250,000 for dozens of charities through her fashion shows is to retire after 30 years at the helm of her Warsash shop.

Sandy Jones, 67, will close Rhian Fashion House in Warsash Road at the end of the month so she can spend more time with her seven-month-old grandson Finley and travel with Robert, her husband of 41 years.

She hopes to still arrange the occasional charity event. 

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Sandy told the Daily Echo: "There's never been a day when I haven't been happy to come to work. It's always been a happy shop.

"I do feel ever so sad, it seems like a lifetime ago when it all started. I live just down the road and it's been such a huge part of my life.

"I've met so many lovely people through the shop and the lunches. It's been a nice way of helping people and we've had lots of fun."

The store, named after Sandy's then four-year-old daughter Rhian, was opened in a blaze of glory in 1993 with a huge party, live music, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony by then Saints captain Glenn Cockerill and broadcaster Cheryl Buggy.

Daily Echo:

Sandy, who also has a son called Haydn, had made a name for herself in fashion, working at Bus Stop Boutique in Southampton, as well as roles window dressing for cruise ships including the QE2 and for the British Shoe Corporation.

She had always fancied a career in fashion, receiving an enthusiastic response after sending her designs to Christian Dior in Paris as a 14-year-old at Testwood School in Totton.

The shop came about after the family moved to Warsash over three decades ago. Sandy walked into the bank with Rhian's buggy on a whim asking for £500 to take on one of the newly-built shops in the village.

Daily Echo:

Sandy's Ladies Let's Lunch events for charities including Wessex Cancer Trust, Dave Wellman Cancer Trust, Honeypot, and the Special Olympics with ex-Saints boss Lawrie McMenemy have been a huge success.

They took place at The Chewton Glen, Wentworth, Southampton Boat Show, The Concorde Club, most of the local hotels, and even in Tenerife, and attracted hundreds of fashion-loving ladies.

'Rhian' will host two final parties next week. The building will become a private GP practice.