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Ethel Needham was a well-to-do woman who bought Blanche Hunt's corsetry business. In 1976, Ethel, her husband Sid and their two children had just moved into 26 Fairbank Road when Sid learned that he may soon be made redundant, and so Ethel decided to return to work.

Having arranged to see Blanche at 20 Victoria Street, Ethel met her when she coincidentally called at the Corner Shop, where Blanche was manager, to ask for directions to the property. After looking over the books and discussing terms with Blanche, Ethel agreed to buy the business for £300. A short time later, after finding out that Gordon Clegg might be selling the shop, Blanche considered going back on the deal, particularly as she'd sold it for less than it was worth, but after hearing that Ethel had children dependent on her, she decided to honour it.