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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Beautiful things guide Karen out of her dark days

A triple tragedy prompted a West Cumbrian woman to open a new business in Maryport.

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Top draw: Karen Thompson has just opened a new shop, Top Drawer, on Senhouse Street in Maryport

Karen Thompson, 49, of Sibson Place, Harrington, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, requiring surgery and radiotherapy.

In the same year she was made redundant from her post as cultural co-ordinator for schools in West Cumbria, a job she loved.

Shortly after, her husband, David, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She said: “David died in December 2011 at the age of 55 just as I had been clear of cancer for a year.”

Karen, a former Maryport and Harrington Coastguard, said she applied for several jobs but, despite having honours and masters degrees, seemed to be getting nowhere.

In April this year she picked some pebbles off a beach and decorated them, which inspired her to ask a friend if she should open a shop selling “lovely things”.

From that conversation, Karen’s Top Drawer was born.

Six weeks ago she saw there was a shop for lease in Maryport’s Senhouse Street and five weeks later the shop opened.

Karen’s Top Drawer sells shabby chic furniture which she prepares for sale.

She has vintage china, glass and homeware, clothing and accessories, both new and vintage, and is offering a furniture painting service and will give free advice on interior décor.

Karen said while the shop was born out of sadness she is hoping it will feel inspirational.

She said: “I know David has been with me every step of the way – the angel on my shoulder. I know he is very happy for me.”

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