TEARS and final farewells marked the closure of Carlisle's beloved Wilko store after 24 years.

On Tuesday, October 3, the shop's 29 employees gathered for the last time, reflecting on fond memories. 

Manager Maria Hay, who has worked at the store for 14 years, said: "We were open 24 years and have some team members who worked there the whole time.

"After 24 years it feels like a family and it gets quite emotional.

"There are a few older ones who will retire, but everyone else is looking for work. Some of the students will go on to their careers and some of the others are thinking of doing different things rather than working in retail - they'll go and chase their dreams. 

"The job market is not great and at this time of year, a lot of things are temporary," she said. 

On Wednesday, the Wilko team enjoyed farewell drinks together in the Boardroom and were treated to drinks and food at the Old Bank as a thank you for their service to Carlisle since 1999. 

"It has been an emotional week - we have had good days and bad days, up and down, but you all support each other. Yesterday was really tough when we closed the store for the last time," Maria added. 

The sad news of the outlets closure came last month when the retailer entered administration, leaving all 400 stores and 12,500 employees at risk. 

Wilko's in Cockermouth confirmed its closure on September 25. 

While more than 250 Wilko stores have or will close there are a number of sites across the UK that have been saved and will relaunched under a new high street brand. 

Fellow high street retailer B&M bought 51 Wilko stores at the beginning of September in a deal thought to be worth around £13 million. 

Poundland owner Pepco also agreed on a deal earlier this month to buy 71 Wilko stores from administrator PwC following the collapse of the high street chain.