THIS year Barbara and Mike Clements are celebrating 21 years as proprietors of their convenience store at the Spar shop, Preston Road, affectionately known as Baileys - but after all this time I think that they have earned the right for it to be called Clements' from now on!

Both Barbara and Mike come originally from Dunfermline in Scotland, where Mike served his apprenticeship as a fitter in Rosyth Naval dockyard.

They then moved to London where daughter Claire was born, and after seven years came to Weymouth where Mike's Dad was working as the Chief of Portland tugs.

They took up the lease of the shop in October 1986 when the premises were just a standard sized bungalow.

The shop part was quite small and the living accommodation fairly crowded, consisting of two rooms behind the shop, one room upstairs and a tiny room in the attic.

When Stan Bailey died they bought the leasehold of the shop, followed later by the freehold, and after son Jack was born they began ambitious expansion plans, incorporating a flat upstairs and later still a new kitchen and extra bedroom, as Mike's mum was now living with them.

Originally Barbara and Mike ran the shop by themselves, with Barbara keeping the accounts in order, but they now have 12 staff, 10 of whom are part time and 2 full time.

They installed the Post Office when the one further along the road closed, and this is now open for the same hours as the shop, which are 7am to 9pm, but when also a newsagent they used to begin each day at 6am!

Over the years the biggest change they have seen is the growth of the food to go' business, although they have baked on the premises for over 16 years.

Tragedy struck the family five years ago, when their beloved daughter Claire died in a car accident, and the whole community, shocked and saddened, rallied round with huge support, for which Barbara and Mike are very grateful.

In memory of Claire and to help other youngsters, they set up and manage the Claire Clement Trust, which has carried out much wonderful work for local youngsters.

Despite the long hours involved in running a busy shop, especially in the summer months, Barbara has put her hard earned book keeping skills to good use by volunteering to become treasurer of the Village Hall Committee as well as her other work.

Mike says that walking the dog is quite enough recreation for both him and the dog! Their 21 years at the shop have been hard and touched by sorrow, but have also been very rewarding. Hopefully they can look forward to a future of happiness and fulfilment based on the thriving business they have created, and surrounded by the host good friends they have made over more than two decades.

I know I speak for all those friends when I say "Here's to the next 21 successful years at Clements Spar Shop.