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Lost keys, a ‘decent’ hoover, and friendship - Retiring cleaners share their memories of four decades of work

PUBLISHED: 13:50 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:59 19 March 2018

Linda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in Dereham for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian Burt

Linda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in Dereham for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Their friendship has blossomed over four decades of tidying, polishing, and hoovering.

Linda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson (here pictured with staff at the Dereham branch) are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in the town for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian BurtLinda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson (here pictured with staff at the Dereham branch) are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in the town for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian Burt

But now, for two Dereham cleaners, the time has come for them to hang up their Marigolds and enjoy retirement together.

Margaret Barnetson, or Margie as she is known, and Linda Frost, have worked together in the market town at William H Brown for 40 years.

Mrs Barnetson, 83, began cleaning at the estate agents in 1975, just five years after it opened its premises in Market Place, while Mrs Frost, 70, picked up her first duster there in 1978.

Linda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in Dereham for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian BurtLinda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in Dereham for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian Burt

Between them, they have racked up 83 years of hard graft.

Group operations director Simon Arnes, who is also Mrs Barnetson’s son-in-law, said: “It was nice we were able to keep the business in the family.

“I would like to thank them for their years of service and wish them well.”

Linda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in Dereham for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian BurtLinda Frost and (R) Margaret Barnetson are retiring at the end of the month, after cleaning at William H. Brown in Dereham for 83 years between them. Picture: Ian Burt

Mrs Barnetson, of Sandy Lane, said one of the highlights of the job for her had been the day a new “decent” hoover was purchased to use inside the two-storey building.

She also spoke fondly of the friendship she shared with Mrs Frost.

“I took her under my wing when she lost her mum,” she said.

“I liked working as a team with Linda.

“We have always worked together well and have worked as a team - it’s been great.”

Mrs Frost, who lives only a street away from her friend and former colleague, added: “I don’t think we have had a cross word between us in the whole time we’ve worked together.

“She has helped me through a lot of things.”

One moment Mrs Frost said she would always remember was when she was covering a week cleaning on her own.

“I lost the keys,” she said.

“I was terrified I would have to tell Simon I lost them but luckily I found them in the bin.”

Both women said they were looking forward to spending time with their husbands, children, grandchildren, and, for Mrs Barnetson, her great-grandchildren.

They also planned on putting their feet up and enjoying retirement together with a regular catch ups and cups of tea.

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