NEWTON Abbot is to say goodbye its premier sewing machine and cotton fabrics shop as its owner eyes up retirement.

Sandra Benson, who has been at the helm of D & S Sewing Machines for more than 40 years, is to retire at the end of the month.

‘The years have just flown by’ Sandra said.

‘I decided to call it day, before they carry me out!’ she said laughing.

‘A lot of my customers have become good friends’.

‘But I’m selling all my stock, closing the shop and putting the building up for sale, ’ she added.

The 79-year-old established the business alongside her husband, Dave, in 1981.

With an initial focus on yarn, knitting machines and associated accessories, the couple gradually moved toward sewing machines and fabrics after Sandra completed a City and Guilds course in patchwork and quilting.

The shop has been devoted to sewing, patchwork and quilting ever since.

D & S Sewing Machines, Newton Abbot
D & S Sewing Machines, Newton Abbot (Ethan Heppell / MDA)

‘D&S has been a wonderful asset to our retail offer in the town centre for decades’ said Sally Henley, town development manager for Newton Abbot.

‘I learned that Sandra was going to retire with sadness, as it will be the end of an era.

‘I think her retirement is well earned, but I'm sure I join a huge community of needleworkers who will miss this wonderful emporium and her constant cheerfulness and good humour.

‘I wish her a truly enjoyable retirement and look forward to continuing to see her out and about as a Newton Abbot shopper’ Sally added.

► Sandra’s retirement sale runs until Saturday, April 27.