A HIGHLY-RESPECTED consultant and former director at a leading firm of solicitors is retiring after 35 years serving her community.

Diana Armstrong, who joined Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors at its Haltwhistle office in 1985, will retire at the end of the month.

Clients and colleagues are due to mark Diana’s milestone with an afternoon tea party and an early evening social in Haltwhistle on Monday.

Diana, who lives near Chollerford with her husband Kester, joined Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors after gaining a first class honours degree at Oxford University and finishing her training at Dickinson Dees in Newcastle.

She said: “I can remember I was really pleased to come to a firm and a community where you met your clients face to face, then got to know their families, and I have always continued to enjoy that. I have acted for three generations of families on estates, conveyancing and wills, and done the same for their children and grandchildren.”

Diana, who has three children, Roly (31) and twins Genny and Naomi (27), has also seen Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors’ presence in Haltwhistle grow.

“When I started it was me and two secretaries. I dealt with everything which came through the door,” she said.

“It is very satisfying to see it grow to where it is today with seven members of staff and three secretaries.”

As part of Cartmell Shepherd’s continuing commitment to the area the firm has also recently invested in a major refurbishment of the Haltwhistle offices.

“Cartmell Shepherd’s network of branches means we are still able to offer that trusted face to face service and expertise which clients really value,” said Diana.

After her retirement, Diana plans to do some voluntary work for charities and walk sections of the Pennine Way with her friends.

“I am also going to get some hens and take advantage of having time to enjoy freshly laid eggs in the morning,” she added.

Peter Stafford, managing director of Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, said: “Diana has been an inspiring mentor and hugely respected solicitor throughout her career. Her clients love her, and her colleagues love working with her.

“It is testament to Diana that she has developed such a strong team in Haltwhistle. We all wish Diana every health and happiness in her well-deserved retirement.”