Former teaching assistant opens Harleston jewellery shop

A former learning support assistant has demonstrated her flair for business after opening up her own jewellery shop in a Norfolk town.

Gill Hawkes has made the quick transition from school life to shopkeeper after being faced with the prospect of redundancy.

The 47-year-old left Archbishop Sancroft High in Harleston last week after taking voluntary redundancy following six and a half years at the school.

And the businesswoman opened Sparkle and Flair in the town yesterday after turning her jewellery making hobby into a new shop.

Mrs Hawkes said she first started making jewellery after joining a GCSE course two years ago, which developed into running parties at people's homes where guests choose the beads they would like made into items of jewellery.

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The business has now been turned into a shop after the artist rented out the former book store in Old Market Place in Harleston and filled it with beads and jewellery making tools.

Sparkle and Flair will stage jewellery making workshops throughout the summer and some of the shelf space has been rented out to a dozen local artisans to showcase their handcrafted creations.

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Mrs Hawkes, who will also be selling her own handmade pieces, said it was a steep learning curve to set up her first shop, but a rewarding one. She added that she hoped to add to the artisan community of Harleston.

'We have had a lot of people through the door and there have been lots of lovely comments in the comments book and people are very happy that something like this is in south Norfolk,' she said.

For more information, call 01379 855491.

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