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Hairdresser celebrates 50 years in same salon but says: 'I'm not ready to retire'

PUBLISHED: 14:58 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 19 September 2019

Pat Wilkin who is celebrating working as a hairdresser for 50 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pat Wilkin who is celebrating working as a hairdresser for 50 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A 72-year-old hairdresser is celebrating 50 years working in the same Norwich salon - where she is still going strong today.

Pat Wilkin in 1994 when she celebrated 25 years working as a hairdresser. Picture: Pat WilkinPat Wilkin in 1994 when she celebrated 25 years working as a hairdresser. Picture: Pat Wilkin

Pat Wilkin was 22 when she bought a hair salon in Sprowston, which she named 'Chezelle' - and incredibly has no plans to put away her scissors to retire any time soon.

Pat, who lives in Rackheath and who has never married, bought her salon on Blenheim Road in 1969 - the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and which saw the movie Oliver! win an Oscar. She's seen some changes in hairdressing over the decades from doing mainly 'shampoo and sets' for ladies to adapting to the modern changes in fashions and appliances, now offering intricate colours and cutting men's hair too.

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Pat Wilkin who is celebrating working as a hairdresser for 50 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPat Wilkin who is celebrating working as a hairdresser for 50 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pat's business has also expanded - now offering a beauty salon upstairs with two beauticians as well as a sports therapy and chiropodist service.

"I really have no plans to stop," said Pat who did cut down her hours a few years ago, now working four days a week instead of six. "I've never thought of it, it's not even in the equation, I'm still enjoying it.

"When I started, the fashion was for shampoo and sets, we'd do tight perms and take the rollers out and send the ladies out. Colours came in tubes and were just black, red or you used bleach. Nowadays we can mix colours to get a particular shade and we do a lot of the 'ombre' with hair coloured differently at the ends and people don't ask for perms as much. Now we probably only do two perms a month for our elderly clients.

Pat Wilkin who is celebrating working as a hairdresser for 50 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPat Wilkin who is celebrating working as a hairdresser for 50 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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"We now have much better appliances too like straighteners and it's made our job a lot easier. Another change is the use of hairspray; ladies used to want their hair stiff and heavy with it but now want it more flowing."

Over the years, Pat, who employs a team including two full-time stylists who rent a chair as well as an admin assistant, has also seen many changes in what women want from asking to look like film stars of the time in the 1970s such as Elizabeth Taylor to the craze a decade later of women of all ages wanting the 'Lady Diana flick.'

Born and raised in Sprowston, Pat left school at 15 to train with stylist Nigel Alexandre who still has a business locally but after working for him for a few years, decided to go it alone. She bought an existing salon and named it Chezelle - French for 'at her's' in 1969 and has never changed it.

Chezelle in Sprowston. Pic; ArchantChezelle in Sprowston. Pic; Archant

How hairstyles have changed over the decades:

1969 - big hair was in, back-combed and fixed tightly in place with copious amounts of hairspray

1970s - Farrah Fawcett's long flicked layered hair in the TV series Charlie's Angels was copied by women everywhere

1980s - The young woman known as Lady Diana Spencer who went on to become a princess had a hairstyle which became the must-have of those early years in that decade

Lady Diana's hairstyle was a major look copied in the early 1980s. Pic: Ron Bell/PA WireLady Diana's hairstyle was a major look copied in the early 1980s. Pic: Ron Bell/PA Wire

1990s Jennifer Anniston's character Rachel in Friends had a choppy layered outgrown bob which hairdressers emulated

2000s Hair became much more creative with use of colour and now the ombre look is in - whereby hair is coloured differently at the ends to the head

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