THE owner of a Chester hat store has been forced to shut up shop after a brain haemorrhage.
Trish Pugh, 53, has run Felicity Hat Hire and Dress Agency on Christleton Road, Boughton, since 2007.
Over the years, thousands of wedding guests, race-goers and snappy dressers have rented posh headware from the popular shop, which first began trading 20 years ago in Handbridge.
But last year Trish was struck by a brain haemorrhage – a bleed on the brain – that could have proved fatal and causes problems with concentration and memory.
She has now taken the tough decision to close her beloved store on Saturday, June 28, on the advice of her doctors.
Trish, who was a loyal customer of the shop before she bought it, said: “It is a really sad day for me and when I turn the key for the last time it will be with a heavy heart. I am recovering well, but I must listen to the doctors and I just cannot give the business the full attention it requires.
“I must say a big thank you to all those customers who have sent me their best wishes and thank you cards.”
Trish’s hats have been worn on dozens of top occasions, including at Buckingham Palace during Honours List presentations, the Queen’s garden parties, the opening of Parliament, Ascot, Henley Regatta, the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival.
They have travelled as far away as Australia and the USA, as well as most of the countries in Europe, for weddings, and have always come back in one piece.
“Looking back it was a brilliant, original concept that allowed ladies to wear top of the range designer headpieces without having to pay hundreds of pounds for an item they would probably only wear once,” she said.
“The UK’s leading milliners were happy to supply us and we had virtually all the top names on our hat stands. It was so exciting having stocked and supplied beautiful designer handmade hats and to offer a bespoke service for our client’s specific specifications.
“I would love opening the box and there would be this fabulous creation made for a special occasion for one of my customers. The joy on their faces when they tried it on for the first time made my job so worthwhile.”
Trish said some of her customers had decided to buy the hats they regularly hired, after hearing she was closing the shop.
She added: “I have met some great people and made good friends. Chester is a wonderful city in which to do business and I am very grateful to all of the people who have used our services over the years, it is genuinely appreciated.”