A VETERAN trader has been reflecting on the life that has led her to the new premises in Barrow.

Cumbria Sewing & Craft Centre on Dalton Road, formerly operating out of Crellin Street, is owned and run by Sandra Collings, 53.

She has been a trader for 35 years.

The Mail: MOVE: Cumbria Embroidery and Print has moved to Dalton Road MOVE: Cumbria Embroidery and Print has moved to Dalton Road

Her business has thrived through decades of the town's history and is continuing to survive through the third national lockdown.

Sandra said: "We’ve had a few challenges along the way but we’re still doing what we do. It’s been a long career and long may it continue.

“As a trade we have needed to diversify a lot in recent years in order to keep up with things. We’ve been able to keep things going during the lockdown and we even moved premises.

“We used to trade out of Crellin Street but now have moved back on to Dalton Road. That alone is a massive undertaking, but we didn’t know Covid was coming our way.

“I’m not sorry about it though because we are set up in a space that was an old chemist's, so there is a lot more space for us here. It’s going to allow us to more classes upstairs and get more work done when this is over.

“We are focusing on getting ready for when we can let people in again.

Sandra is in the process of creating a social media account for her business in order connect with people as they remain indoors during the lockdown.

The Mail: NOMINATED: Sandra Collings of Cumbria Embroidery and PrintNOMINATED: Sandra Collings of Cumbria Embroidery and Print

She added: “Lockdown has affected things. For example, we normally do a lot of school uniforms in July which went very well, but we aren’t seeing any of our older customers because a number of them will be in the most at-risk category of people.

“What has helped us though is that people now have a lot of time to try new things, hobbies and crafts. A lot of them have taken up sewing which is where we can help them.

“As people are at home it means now is the time to get a social media account online soon so we can reach everyone possible.

“I am looking forward to having people back in the shop, though. A lot of them will not have seen our new premises.

“We also want people to buy local because we want to town centre to keep going, and that’s how you do it.

The Mail: TRADING: Sandra has traded for over 35 years TRADING: Sandra has traded for over 35 years

“I’ve got a very loyal customer base here and I want to look after them. We even have a woman in Manchester trying to buy from us because she wants to buy local.

“I started trading in my early 30s. After finishing school, I went to Furness College and did a design course. I later got my teaching certificate so I could teach sewing. Then this shop came up for sale and I thought: go for it. That’s all it all began.”