Clare Carey served as a pharmacist in Hilltown for over 20 years
A PHARMACIST who built a “phenomenal bond” with the local community, has said she will forever remember the “wonderful” people and friends she has made during her 22 years in Hilltown Pharmacy.
Up until earlier this month, Clare Carey spent the last two decades as the registered pharmacist in Hilltown but now feels the time is right to move from community pharmacy to a hospital setting in the new year.
Originally from Portglenone, Clare moved to live in Hilltown in February 2001 after qualifying and starting work here in August 1997.
Clare was living in Belfast when she received word that she was successful in obtaining the post in Hilltown and said she decided to buy a house and move down permanently.
“I am still back and forth between Portglenone and Hilltown as that is where all my family are, but I do feel very at home in Hilltown,” Clare said.
“I have made so many good friends down here over the years and have also gotten to know many families and all their connections.
“Hilltown is a real homely place and everyone is connected in some way or another.”
Clare, who frequently shops in Rathfriland, said she would be standing at the check-out and there is always someone she recognises or someone to stand and have a chat with.
Clare received many positive comments on the Hilltown Community Association Facebook page and said it has been lovely building a rapport with so many people over the years.
“I moved to Hilltown as a complete stranger and I was immediately welcomed by everyone.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the locals and for them getting to know me too.
“A lot of Rathfriland people would use the pharmacy too and I loved people coming in to see me even for a wee chat.
Clare added that she always enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of working in Hilltown and admitted it will be hard to move on.
“I can remember one day walking out from dispensary for a prescription and four people were standing waiting and I said 'there you go my friend' and all four people turned to me reaching out for the prescription.
“That's what Hilltown was like, friendly people and a really nice place to work. People would come in and talk to me about all sorts of things and I will miss that.
“I have seen babies from birth right up into adulthood and have really grown strong friendships with nearly everyone I have had the pleasure of knowing.
“But it is time for a new adventure and I am looking forward to the next chapter.”
Speaking about Clare's time as the local pharmacist, Hilltown pharmacists, Patrick Woods and Paul O'Hare said: “Clare has built a phenomenal bond over the last 20 years with the community and what a huge accomplishment that is.
“It all comes down to how extremely kind, sensitive and obliging she is to every customer that walks through the door, no problem too big or too small.
“She provides not just health care advice, but emotional support to the people of Hilltown and the surrounding area.”
Patrick commented: “Clare welcomed me with open arms from the first day I started in Hilltown Pharmacy.
“Myself and Paul would like to wish Clare the best of luck with her future endeavours and extend our invitation that she is welcome back to work in Hilltown Pharmacy anytime.”