ANNIVERSARY celebrations have received the Royal seal of approval at a Morpeth barbers after it received a message of support from Prince Charles.
Phoenix Barbers off Bridge Street has received the letter from the heir to the throne to congratulate it on reaching 20 years in business.
The shop in Phoenix Yard started off in November 1987 with a £5,000 loan from the Prince’s Trust and within three years the business had expanded with a service in Amble.
It continues to go from strength to strength so owner Katie Broadhead decided to write to the Prince of Wales to thank him for his charity’s support all those years ago and tell him of the barbers’ success story.
Not only did the Prince of Wales send a reply congratulating the business, but he said that if he had known sooner he would have called in at the Amble shop during his visit to the town in July last year.
Mrs Broadhead said: “We had been in business for 20 years in November and because we started the business with the Prince’s Trust we wrote to Prince Charles. Now we have had a letter from Prince Charles congratulating us.
“We also have a shop in Amble, which has been in business for 17 years and we mentioned that in the letter.
“We have a letter saying if Prince Charles had known he would have looked in when he was visiting there in July.
“We now have copies of the letter hanging on the wall in the Morpeth shop and the Amble shop.
“Getting our own letter from Prince Charles is an honour and being in business for 20 years in this day and age is good.”
Mrs Broadhead completed her hairdressing apprenticeship in Morpeth before moving on to develop her skills in Newcastle, but she said that returning to the town to set up her own business was a dream come true.
“I had always wanted my own shop,” she said.
“It was fantastic to get the funding from the Prince’s Trust to enable us to get a foot on the ladder to start the business.
“We got £5,000, which was great, and we could pay that back over a period of six to 12 months without any interest.
“We also got free help and free advice.
“It was just fantastic. Without that support we wouldn’t have been able to start the business.
“I don’t think we would have been in the position we are today without that organisation.”
She added: “There have been a lot of ups and downs, as there are for any business, but lucky for us we have fantastic support from our brilliant staff.
“We are more like a family. Some of us have known each other for 26 or 27 years – we have been to school together, did our apprenticeship together and are now working together.
“We wouldn’t be here without the wonderful staff.”