AN Ashbourne shop worker who started in one of the town's oldest businesses on a Youth Training Scheme has celebrated her 25th year of employment.
Rachel Timmis left Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School to follow her dream of working in fashion retail and landed a job, along with a City and Guilds training course, at Wigley's Shoes in St John Street.
The retail industry was in her blood from an early age as she had always helped her grandfather running Hellaby's Toy Shop on Compton Bridge but her first "proper job" soon turned into a successful career.
Mother of two Rachel, 41, who now lives in Kingston, near Uttoxeter, joined Wigley's at an early stage of its latest chapter, which has seen a series of major expansions to the shop.
She said: ''I always wanted to work in retail and selling and I've always been interested in shoes and fashion so this was perfect for me.
''Over the years, I've helped to build the business up and I worked my way up to manageress and now I work here part time.
''I'm still enjoying it. I see a lot of customers I've seen for many years and still know the people I've worked with.
''Working with the owners, Barbara and Eddie, has been lovely and Ashbourne is a lovely town to work in so, as long as Barbara will have me, I'm happy to stay.''
During her career, Rachel has received national praise for her sales prowess, twice becoming a finalist in the UK Footwear Awards' Sales Assistant of the Year category.
And she played a major role in the shop's relatively recent expansion into clothing, which now dominates its first floor.
The business's owner, Barbara Leyland, who is the third generation of family owners, said: ''It's been lovely having Rachel working for us all these years.
''We're like a big happy family here and she's been part of it for a long time.''