A woman who styled the hair of celebrity actresses and thousands of youngsters for theatre performances in Peterborough is to retire after 41 years of owning her own salon.
Karen Hewitt bought Cavendish For Hair off Eastfield Road as a 20-year-old thanks to the help of her mum, but she has sold up after a career which began as a 14-year-old learning her craft.
And her distinguished career saw her tend to top stage and screen stars such as Laurence Olivier award winner Patricia Hodge, star of ‘I Claudius’ Sian Phillips and ‘New Faces’ actress Marti Caine ahead of performances at the Key Theatre.
She even had Bond girl and TV’s Avengers star Honor Blackman visit her salon ahead of a one-woman performance, although the Goldfinger actress managed to sneak under the radar on her visit.
Karen (61) said: “The other clients were thinking ‘I recognise that face’.
“It’s nice to talk to these people about their lives.”
Karen has reduced the work she does at the Key Theatre in Embankment Road where she has styled the hair of countless numbers of youngsters for stage performances, including many who have gone on to a professional career in theatre such as Robert Gilbert of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Strictly Come Dancing singer Hayley Sanderson.
But Karen will continue to help out at the Key Youth Theatre - which is run by her daughter Lisa Collings and husband Paul - and she will also spend more time with her grandchildren Ava Mae (7) and Isla (2).
Karen, who is moving to live in Eye, finishes at the salon on Saturday, October 24.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to it now but I’m apprehensive.
“I will miss the clients dreadfully, but health-wise I know enough is enough. You’re standing eight hours a day, five days a week.
“I do not regret opening the salon, I had some great times and many, many fond memories. But I’m tired now.”
Karen served her apprenticeship as a hairdresser at 14 with training at college one day a week and by watching and learning.
Now with her final day at work beckoning she is hoping for a low-key exit when she finishes up at the salon which now has an uncertain future- “I would just like to close quietly and have a big party,” said Karen.
But after more than four decades as the boss she would love to get back in touch with some of her staff for a reunion.
Karen added: “I’ve always had brilliant staff and I could not have done any of this without them. I keep in touch with a lot of them.
“I would like to get all the staff who worked here together for a big party, probably for the New Year. If they could ring me at the salon on 01733 554569 that would be great.”