A Lancing pharmacist has been given a birthday surprise after spending 40 years at the heart of the community.
Shabbir Jafferali has worked as a chemist at Wilmshurst Pharmacy in Crabtree Lane for 40 years and was surprised by residents, customers and friends for his 70th birthday.
On Saturday, he was presented with a birthday cake and a caricature card in a gesture he said left him feeling ‘overwhelmed’.
“I am out here for them, it’s very important to be a central part of the community,” said the father-of-three.
“The community has played a huge part in welcoming me all these years. So many people went out of their way and made the effort to say happy birthday.
“I was absolutely speechless. I’d like to give a big thank you to the community for giving me this surprise.”
Mr Jafferali said when he started in 1979, he remembered his predecessor telling his boss he would not last very long, and would be ‘packing his bags soon’. Forty years on, he said he was still packing his bags.
He said he was particularly touched by a 90-year-old customer who climbed the step with his zimmerframe to say happy birthday.
He thanked him for his work, he said, and told Mr Jafferali that whenever they spoke, his pain went away.
With no plans to retire soon, it is these interactions that keep him coming back.
“I just love it,” he said. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning – I just love my job. Enjoyment is the main thing and it’s been an absolute pleasure – every day there is something new to learn.”
Adur councillor Carson Albury presented Mr Jafferali with the card and cake. He said: ”A truly unique man completely dedicated to his profession and his customers. Loved by everyone.”