Three loyal employees waved goodbye to The White Horse Bookshop after a total of 91 years’ service.

Christine Ellis, Jenny Smithers and cleaner June Pike said fond farewells to colleagues and customers at a party last Thursday attended by around 120 people.

Mrs Ellis, 61, has worked at the shop for 46 years since she left school. She said: “The party was fantastic.

“It was a bit overpowering for me seeing so many people from the past including former members of staff.”

Mrs Pike, 82, a cleaner at the shop for 38 years, added: “We had a lovely time, it was so busy.”

The three ladies are retiring just as current owner, Michael Pooley, hands over the keys to new owners Wiltshire’s deputy lieutenant Robert Hiscox and Aldbourne estate owner Brian Kingham.

The bookshop closed on Saturday and will be shut until April when it will reopen under new management.

Mrs Smithers, 62, has worked at part-time at the shop for seven years looking after the art department.

She said: “I came here because of my interest in art. I shall miss being in the shop. There’s a sense of camaraderie and you get a level of service that you don’t get in a big store but I will have more time for family and hopefully I’ll be able to do a bit more art.”

Although the ladies will not be working at the store anymore, they all intend to visit regularly.

Mrs Ellis said: “For me it’s almost like a second family. You build up a rapport with people over the years. You get to know about their family situation and their lives and vice versa and that’s why I’ve been here as long as I have.”

Mrs Pike said: “I was living out in Temple for years and when we moved to Marlborough I just felt I needed a bit of a job and it’s been fantastic. Michael is a great boss.”