'There is room for Zac in the Timpson family' - friendship of manager and child with autism

5-year-old Zac Bloomfield who made friends with John Foxlox, a staff member from Timpson on Tavern S

5-year-old Zac Bloomfield who made friends with John Foxlow, a manager from Timpson on Tavern Street in Ipswich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A manager at a Timpson store in Ipswich has been praised for his kindness to a small boy. 

Zac Bloomfield, five, was shopping with his grandmother, Jane Hughes, when he became distressed at the cobbler man figure in the window display at the key-cutter and shoe repair shop in Tavern Street. 

“They’d put an Ed Sheeran mask on it, to thank Ed for his funding to Ipswich Town, and Zac got so cross,” said Jane, who lives in Ipswich.  

“Every time we went past and the door was open, he’d stand there shouting, that’s not right! It’s not Ed Sheeran, it’s the cobbler man!” 

The cobbler man in the window display at Timpson on tavern Street in Ipswich, which Zac helped decorate.

The cobbler man in the window display at Timpson on tavern Street in Ipswich, which Zac helped decorate. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Zac, who lives in Oulton Broad and has autism, was distressed at the change in the cobbler man’s attire. 

“It just upset him, because nobody told him it was changing, and he doesn’t like change,” Jane explained. 

The target of Zac’s outrage was usually Timpson manager, John Foxlow. However, the 53-year-old had a unique solution as to how to help Zac. 

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“He said that he was going to dress the cobbler man up for Christmas, and how about my grandson came and helped him do it?” said Jane.

5-year-old Zac Bloomfield who helped decorate the display at Timpson on Tavern Street in Ipswich. Pi

Zac is much happier after being allowed to choose the cobbler man's outfit - Credit: Danielle Booden

John invited the pair to the shop one Saturday morning, and allowed Zac to dress the figure to his liking. 

“I thought it might make it a little bit easier for him,” said John. “Zac is a lovely lad, and I think he enjoyed himself.” 

When he arrived, Zac was presented with his own apron and tie with a name badge to wear.  

Firm friends: manager John Foxlow and Zac, dressed in his own Timpson apron, tie and badge

Firm friends: manager John Foxlow and Zac, dressed in his own Timpson apron, tie and badge - Credit: Danielle Booden

“Yes, he was all dressed up,” says John. “He’s part of the team now, you see. 

“The Timpson culture is always to do something nice for people. That’s sort of instilled in you, and that’s what my boss is all about, just doing nice things.” 

John is a Manager of the Timpson store in Tavern Street

John is a Manager of the Timpson store in Tavern Street - Credit: Danielle Booden

The chain is owned by Sir John Timpson CBE, who has advocated for a better understanding of attachment and trauma in children, having been a foster parent to an estimated 90 children himself with his late wife, Alex. 

John is sure that Zac will be invited back to Timpson before too long. “I think there is room for Zac in the Timpson family.” 

Zac Bloomfields badge given to him by Timpson.

Zac Bloomfields badge given to him by Timpson. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden