Daughter pays tribute to mother who is closing Wisbech pet shop due to ill health

THE daughter of a Fenland pet shop owner has paid tribute to her mother after she announced the closure of the business due to ill health.

For nearly 30 years June Jacklin has run June’s Pet Foods in Wisbech but just after Christmas she had two strokes which has left her unable to walk without help.

Her daughter Debbie Jacklin, joined the family business in 1985 shortly after her father opened up a second store in Whittlesey. Debbie’s younger sister Julie and her best friend Tracy Kent went on to be their Saturday girls.

She said: “To mum her customers were never just customers, they have become her friends and it wasn’t until her being ill that there wasn’t a day when mum didn’t want to go to work.

“The shop has become like a family member and when we close the door for the final time on April 2 it will be heartbreak to see it close and the end of an era.

“She has seen many families grow and those children that used to come in and fuss the animals 20 years ago now bring their children to come and see her.

“Mum always laughs about the first Christmas when a lady came in and asked for a Christmas stocking for a goldfish. How she kept a straight face as my dad suggested she filled a plastic stocking with water she doesn’t know.

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“There was also a time when a gentleman came in saying he thought his cockatiel had passed away and needed some advice. When mum asked where the bird was the man produced a package from his shopping bag and inside it was his dead bird wrapped in a towel.”

They opened the first shop at 15 Norfolk Street and expanded in 1986 but moved down the road when the store was damaged in January 2007 when a fire broke out in the shop next door.

A couple of years after her husband died from cancer in 2002, Mrs Jacklin, a prominent member of the Norfolk Street Traders Association, sold the Whittlesey branch to her niece who later renamed it Jacko’s.

Anne Partlett, 60, has worked at the store for 22 years after she was taken on for six weeks to help out.

Another worker, Tammy, began at the store as part of the ‘Trident’ scheme but continued to work at the pet shop afterwards.

Debbie said: “Mum loved recruiting children after they left school and after Tammy left Tracey Payne came on work experience from Neale-Wade Community College in March with us.

“When she left school she came to work for us and she went to work with my dad 11 or 12 years ago in Whittlesey. She’s still there.

“The only condition when we sold the shop was that Tracey stayed.”