A SALON owned by award-winning celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford has closed suddenly.

Staffords, in London Road, Leigh, was the first salon the former King John School pupil opened before gaining global acclaim as a stylist.

The salon’s ten staff were told the business was struggling earlier this month and the salon has now shut its doors for the last time.

Leigh-born Mr Stafford, 43, said: “I’ve not spent much time in the Leigh salon over the past five years because of my international commitments.

“That is where it all started, so it’s the end of an era, but I will always have very fond memories of it.”

The stylists at the salon had been offered the chance to take the business on themselves, but decided against it.

Mr Stafford said: “The salon had no loans, but a little bit of debt. I told the team I’ve not got the time to run it, but they’ve been very loyal to me, so I offered them the business.

“I would have just signed it over to them and said I would pay the debts.

“Sadly, the staff didn’t want to take it over, which is a shame, but that was their decision.”

While the business is now closed, it is not the end of the road for the premises.

Mr Stafford said: “We are not going to reopen it as a salon, but we are considering and are in talks about opening it as a Government training academy.

“It’s hopefully going to be an education centre for young people, which is my passion.

“It’s what I spend my time going round the world doing.”