MENTION the two words ‘Castlerock’ and “hairdresser’ and only one place springs to mind - Jean’s.
But now after 46 years in the hairdressing business, Jean Fullerton is hanging up her hairdryer and setting aside her scissors in Castlerock.
The Times caught up with Jean in her Main Street salon last week - where it was standing room only as customers and well-wishers gathered for appointments and reminiscences.
Jean, who makes a daily 80-mile round trip from her Ballymena home, began hairdressing in Castlerock on: “the sixth of the sixth, 1966.”
“If it had been three sixes, I would have been worried but with four sixes, I have been very fortunate,” joked Jean.
“I have been here in Castlerock for 46 years but I actually started work as a hairdresser on June 15th, 1962.
“I have been very blessed in my work. I drive every day 80 miles from Ballymena but it has been worth it to get to Castlerock.
“I sincerely want to thank my customers for their business over the years.
“More often than not, it’s not work, it’s more of a social gathering.”
The walls of the little salon are lined with photographs of friends and customers as well as a commemorative photo of Jean which she was presented after 30 years in Castlerock for her “services to the community”.
Among the many friends and customers who were packed into Jean’s were loyal customers like Florrie McIntyre who went to school with Jean.
“Jean did my hair for my wedding 42 years ago and she is still doing my hair,” said Florrie.
Another long-standing customer, Ivy Park said that she had followed Jean out to Castlerock from Coleraine in 1968 and has been coming ever since.
“Everyone comes here to Jean’s. We have the Presbyterian minister and we have a priest who comes over from Donegal to get his hair cut,” she said.
“This place will be sorely missed” was Irene Campbell’s summation of the news of the closure of Jean’s salon.
“I moved her from Belfast 42 years ago and have been coming to Jean’s ever since. When I first started coming there was just one sink, one chair and one mirror,” said Irene.
“I just class everyone here as old friends now.”
Jean said she had been touched by the support of her customers - her first ever hairdressing apprentice called in to wish her well before she finished in Castlerock and she had also received a good luck card from one local family who have been coming to her for four generations now.
Although she is leaving her Castlerock salon, Jean will continue to work three days a week from her Ballymena home and is looking forward to some “me time”, joining a walking group and “getting time to do the things I never had time to do”