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Founder of Jane Young Fashions on Chain Lane, Newark, dies after short illness aged 79

The founder of Jane Young Fashions in Newark, Janet Wilkinson, has died after a short illness, aged 79.

The store, on Chain Lane, has been a firm fixture on the local retail scene for many years and developed a reputation across the region.

Thousands of women regarded Jane Young as the place to go for special occasions, such as weddings and social events, knowing they would receive attentive and careful service as well as quality.

Janet Wilkinson. (33213988)
Janet Wilkinson. (33213988)

The success of the brand led to expansion into other towns, including Nottingham, Lincoln, Retford, Grimsby and Worksop, but the shop in Chain Lane remained as the flagship and it was there that Janet Wilkinson was usually found.

She continued that personal touch up to four years ago when increasing ill health made it impossible.

Her daughters, Charlotte and Jane, continued the work.

Janet was born on November 27, 1940, to Jim and Grace Young who lived in Windsor Avenue.

She was educated initially at Sconce Hills School, Newark, and later attended the Lincoln Convent School with her sister, Ann.

She started in the fashion business at 14, helping her parents on their market stall. Her father was the buyer of the material and her mother made the clothes that they sold.

After a short time working with the Nottingham department store, Griffin and Spalding, Janet returned to the family business, which had then set up in the Queen’s Head Yard.

It later moved to the Saracens Head Yard, where wool was sold on the ground floor and fashions upstairs.

It moved to its current home when the King’s Head public house was bought and the merchandise changed from fine ales to fine fashion.

Janet travelled extensively in Europe to buy the latest collections and they were avidly sought after.

It was a fitting tribute when she won the Drapers’ Independent Fashion Magazine Retailer of the Year award and then the Lifetime Achievement Award at Newark Business Awards in 2016.

Janet Wilkinson was an ardent supporter of charitable causes and her fashion shows in aid of Cancer Research were annual highlights.

She had three children, Charlotte and Jane, and James, who owns Newark Marina.

She regularly worshipped at Hawton Church, where she enjoyed friendship and hospitality.

Her long and progressive illness inhibited her mobility but she was always stoic and never complained.

A memorial service will be held in the future.

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