AFTER 50 years as a shoe shop assistant, Muriel Hanks has finally measured her last foot.

Muriel, of Lansdown Road, in Old Town, started working at at Blaylocks shoe shop, in Old Town, on January 16, 1961, when she left school aged 15.

And, during that time, she has built up an enviable collection of footwear.

“I have quite a few, 25 or more, that I keep in shoe boxes in the bottom of the wardrobe so I can see at a glance what I have got,” said the 65-year-old.

“I like casual shoes for walking the dog or pushing the wheelchair.”

Muriel has seen many changes over the years, including many different fashions in shoe styles and prices.

“When I started, children’s first shoes cost 19s 11d, about 99p in today’s money, and now they would cost £27,” she said.

“As for styles, they come back round into fashion, they usually go in 10-year cycles.”

The former Drove Secondary Modern School pupil remembers her first week at the shoe shop very well.

“The first week I was tempted to go elsewhere but I soon settled down,” she said.

“I was working with OAPs when I was still at school and I fancied a change.

“I saw the advertisement for a sales assistant and came for an interview.”

Muriel believes in giving 100 per cent when serving customers and says that measuring feet is crucial to giving good service and getting the right pair of shoes for her customers.

“We have a hand held infant measure that has changed a bit but we have been using a similar style for 40 years,’’ she said.

She officially retired with a big party a number of years ago but wanted to continue working at the shop on a part-time basis, every Thursday, until she reached the 50-year service milestone.

Now that has happened she has handed over her measuring tape for the last time, almost to the day that she started.

Now Muriel will be spending more time growing strawberries, raspberries and runner beans on her allotment or walking her five-year-old pug dog called Jack.

“He always looks down in the mouth when I leave for work, so he will be pleased I am home,’’ she said.

Muriel is also a full-time carer to her mother, 88-year-old Doris, so she will be keeping busy during her retirement.

But she is still planning to find time to explore the world.

“I also want to go on a cruise to see the Norwegian Fjords with some friends,” she said.