Salute snow staff superstars

Top marks for initiative and dedication during the cold spell go to the Co-operative Group’s Cheryl Melrose and Louise Maguire, who work in The Co-operative food store in...

Cheryl, 21, and Louise, 22, ran the store themselves when management were unable to travel to get in to work due to the wintry conditions. Despite the fact that no other stores in the local area were stocking bread, a Warburtons delivery van managed to reach the Chapelhall store, so the quick-thinking pair took all the bread on the delivery and sold 900 loaves, which helped sales of £15,500 — almost double the usual day’s takings of £8,000.

The dynamic duo also found time to help a passer-by who had fallen and broken her wrist. They took her inside the store and made her tea while she waited for an ambulance.

Other staff who definitely went the ‘extra mile’ for customers include:

• Five staff at the Mapplewell store, Barnsley, who worked 13 to 14 hour shifts to help unload a delayed fresh delivery, alongside orders belonging to two other stores that were unable to receive them. They spent four hours unloading five pallets, 15 cages and 12 milk cages, and getting the stock on the shelves. Outside two customers with four-wheel drive vehicles helped pull free a delivery driver who was stuck, while a husband and son of one of the store supervisors helped clear a path to the store and then helped pull the cages in. Sarah Truelove also walked almost six miles, and 61-year-old Rita Osborne almost two miles, to get to work at Mapplewell.

• Jean Gaunt, store manager at the Birdwell store in Barnsley, and her team, hand-delivered goods to regular customers, mainly the elderly and single parent families, who were unable to get to the store. Several staff also gave up their holidays to go into work, while some walked up to five miles to get there.

• The store manager at the Silverdale store, in South Cumbria, who called in a local farmer to help rescue a delivery lorry which, after travelling 200 miles from Newcastle, became stuck just two miles away down a country road. Unfortunately, the Police and Highways Agency were unable to attend, so with the help of the farmer, who lives next to the Co-operative store and is a regular customer, and his tractor they successfully towed the lorry to the store, which had previously had two failed delivery attempts that week, and re-stocked the shelves which were running low.

• David Thomas, who lives in the countryside, was the only supervisor able to make it into the Melrose store in the Scottish Borders but, because of the weather, ended up staying with a friend in Galashiels for eight days to make sure he could keep it trading. During this time, David, who also had cracked ribs, kept going and opened and closed the store, and even had to go shopping at Matalan to stock up on new shirts! He was joined by Duncan Cameron, who was unable to make it to work at the Jedburgh Superstore, so instead walked four miles to help out at Melrose.

• Julie Johnstone and Linda Corcoran, walked more than two miles every day, for six days, along the A68 to make sure they joined the team that kept the Newtown St Boswells store open.

• Only the colleagues that lived near to the St Boswells store, in Scotland, could get to work, and so they shared all the hours between them to keep it open. Tanya Collie also assumed the store manager’s role to keep it trading, and helped manually unload deliveries off a wagon, while her partner cleared the snow from the front entrance. Tanya then hand delivered shopping to local elderly residents. Customer services advisor Sandra Thomson also walked two miles along the main A68 road to get to the store.

• Residents of the remote North Yorkshire Moors’ village of Goathland, the setting of ITV’s Heartbeat, rang the Whitby Gazette to commend the local Co-operative store’s home delivery team for providing a lifeline after they were cut off for a week. Delivery drivers Darren Wright, Barry Parker and Mike Dale managed to reach the village, while other major supermarkets were unable to, to take essential supplies to 17 households.

• Tanya Attrell, based at the North Street store in Brighton, came into work on her day off as she knew they would be short-staffed with many colleagues struggling to get in to work. Her colleague Ashley Beard walked more than two-and-a-half hours each way in appalling conditions to get to work at the store, while Paul Chatfield used his own vehicle and fuel to pick up and take staff home from the Brighton store after their buses had been cancelled.

• Staff at The Co-operative Farms’ Carnoustie packhouse, near Dundee, who, in spite of the heaviest snowfall for more than 25 years and temperatures falling to -21 degrees celsius, turned up in time for their 6am shift, with some travelling up to 45 miles to get there. The entire team pulled together and managed to pre-pack all the orders received from retail stores, as well as find time to visit the nearby Co-operative store in Carnoustie to clear snow from the car park and goods received yard.

• Geoff Freeman, from the Surrey and Berkshire Area Membership Committee, stepped in to prevent a screening of the Dirty Oil film in Reading from being called off, as all the membership team were stuck in Kent. The film was screened and attracted a good turn out.

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