East Preston Launderette changes hands as owner retires following sudden death of her husband

Laura Real has signed East Preston Launderette over to Adrian Clarke. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190428-3
Laura Real has signed East Preston Launderette over to Adrian Clarke. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190428-3

The long-standing owner of East Preston Launderette has thanked the community for its support over more than 27 years, especially since her beloved husband died suddenly two years ago.

Laura Real has loved her time at the launderette in Downs Way but her heart has not been in it since Paul died on September 6, 2017, at the age of 53.

They had built the business up together and it has been thanks to the help of friends and support from Our Lady Star of the Sea RC Church that Laura has been able to carry on.

Laura, 56, said: “He was a very good man, very active in the community. He was a governor at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School in Angmering and he was very active in the school, raising a lot of money. He worked very hard.

“When he died, it was tough. I had a network of friends who helped me and support from the church.

“I want the community to know that I appreciate their custom over the years and to thank the church community for their support.”

The couple bought the launderette in February 1992, when they were in their mid-20s.

Laura said: “We were very young. It was our first venture, to start our married life. We didn’t have any idea how to run a launderette. We had been working in America and we had to start from scratch.

“When we first moved in, it needed a lot doing. Everything was broken and leaking. Over the years, we were successful, thanks to the support from the community. It is all word of mouth.

“It went so smoothly and Paul’s parents helped us a lot. We were working so hard. We were running the launderette and then we were working nights in Sainsbury’s filling up the shelves.”

Having established the business, Paul and Laura had two children, Stephen and Maria, who are now 19 and 15.

Paul died on September 6, 2017, the first day back at school after the summer holidays. He had seen the children off at the station but collapsed after returning home due to a bleed on the brain.

Denise Leal, Laura’s PA and longtime friend, said: “When Paul passed, it was very sudden, as he was a fit and well businessman. Leukaemia was only diagnosed hours before his passing. Laura wanted to sell the launderette as it is not the same without Paul.”

Adrian and his partner Michelle took over on Monday.

Laura said: “A lot of people were worried when I put it on the market but the people taking over are a beautiful couple from Angmering.

“I will probably do more in the church. I love getting involved there.”