Morrisons store regular 'over the moon' at opening honour


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Media captionFreda France started to visit the story daily after her husband died

An 88-year-old woman has reopened her local supermarket after visiting most days for the last 22 years.

Freda France started her regular visits to Morrisons in Ecclesfield after her husband Harry died in 1997.

When staff were choosing who should cut the ribbon at its reopening, they said they could think of no-one better to do the honours.

Granddaughter Victoria Wood said: “She’s loved it. She’s even written to Prince Harry to tell him about it.”

After her husband’s death, Mrs France vowed not to give up on life and started making the journey from her home in Shiregreen to Morrisons to do her shopping or have lunch.

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Victoria Wood

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Freda France bought a new dress and had her hair done for the occasion

Ms Wood said: “She swore she wasn’t going to become one of those women who just stayed inside and she’s stayed true to her word.

“The staff there have been amazing with her. They treat her like part of the family.”

The invite to re-open the revamped store came about after Mrs France got in touch with BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Toby Foster, who was asking for examples of good customer services.

She rang up to sing the praises of store staff, who had been listening to the radio and the next day had laid out a lunch for her in the cafe.

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Victoria Wood

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Freda France’s granddaughter said her nan was “so excited” when she was asked to do the honours

Her granddaughter said: “A couple of months later they told her they’d held a vote about who should cut the ribbon and everyone voted for her.

“She got herself a new dress and we all went to watch. She was absolutely over the moon.”

The 31-year-old said the visits to Morrisons were a big part of her grandmother’s life and she had even found new love with Henry, who she met in the store cafe 10 years ago.

Duncan Brooks, the store manager, said: “Freda was one of the very first customers to shop at our store so we could not think of anyone we’d love more to reopen it.”

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