Retail manager Karen Allen is retiring from Aspen Travel after 27 years at the business, and 39 years in the travel industry.
Allen (pictured right) began her career in travel aged 17 and worked for agencies including West Houghton Travel and Top Class Travel before joining Aspen Travel in 1995.
Now, after 27 years at the escorted tour specialist agency, she has made the decision to step down on June 8 so she can spend more time with her family, including her eight-month-old granddaughter and her sister.
She said: “I started in the travel industry when I was 17 on a Youth Training Scheme and I’ve never worked in another sector.
“I’ve loved working in travel and I’ll miss the tour operators, parties, fam trips and all the fun that goes with the job, as well as all the Aspen customers who I’ve come to know over the years.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with kind messages from people in the industry which makes it harder to go, but I know that it’s time for a change.”
Allen plans to take on charity work after her final day in travel, after taking inspiration from her sister, who has cancer.
Allen said: “My sister is so inspiring and even though she is suffering she’s embracing life and doing charity work with Macmillan Cancer Trust. I feel like being sat at a desk isn’t where I want to be right now, I want to be out there doing things that will help other people, as well as spend time with my family.
“Although it’s scary thinking I’ll be doing something new, it’s time for me to be brave and take the plunge into the unknown.
“But I’ll never close the door on the travel industry, so I might be back in the future.”