Super gran still on the till

DESPITE the fact that she has just turned 80, this super Gran just can't stay away from the super market.Joy Watling believes every little helps as she does three shifts a week as a cashier at the Tesco superstore in Copdock, Ipswich - a job she has enjoyed for the last 16 years.

DESPITE the fact that she has just turned 80, this super Gran just can't stay away from the super market.

Joy Watling believes every little helps as she does three shifts a week as a cashier at the Tesco superstore in Copdock, Ipswich - a job she has enjoyed for the last 16 years.

Mrs Watling, who lives in Ipswich, plans to retire before Christmas, but loves her job, her colleagues and her customers and it would be a real wrench to leave.

And she is one of the few employees who is older the giant company she is working for - she was two years old when the first Tesco opened in London!

She said: “I really enjoy the company of the people that I work with, they are wonderful!”

It seems that her colleagues feel exactly the same about her because Joy, who celebrated her 80th birthday on November 14, was “gob-smacked” to discover that all her work pals had organised a surprise party for her.

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Marlene Boreham and a group of Joy's work colleagues organised the surprise party to mark the occasion and to celebrate the birthday of one of their favourite work pals.

Mrs Watling said: “Marlene just rang me up and said she was going to take me out for a meal so I thought I was going out for a meal with her and a few others.

“She picked me up and she took me to her house and she told me to hold on while she got her coat on and when I walked in, I found everyone there!

“She did the most beautiful buffet for me and it was a really a wonderful event.”

Greta Burrup, 50, works with Mrs Watling and she said it was tough keeping the party a secret from her while they were all at work.

She said: “It was hard to keep it quiet but she didn't know a thing-judging by the look on her face when she walked in!

“She's such a lovely member of staff and for 80 years old she's really a very young 80-year-old and everyone gets along with her really well.”

Mrs Watling's boss at Tesco, David Clements, said: “She's regarded very highly here and she fits in as a team member very well, she always has a good laugh and she's a member of staff that I'll be sad to see go when she retires.”

Mrs Watling, who lives with her husband Eric, said she was lucky to have such good friends.

She said: “We had our car stolen at the beginning of this year and they helped us with that and my husband has been ill since September and they've all been so supportive.”

Mrs Watling is due to retire on December 19 but she said she's reluctant to give her job up.

She said: “I really enjoy my job, it gets me out of the house and it keeps my brain ticking over.

“I will miss it when I retire, if I do.”

Do you know someone still working at a grand age?

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Then

1919 - Jack Cohen began to sell surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London. His first day's profit was £1 and sales £4.

1924 - Mr Cohen sold the first own-brand product, Tesco Tea - before the company was called Tesco. The name comes from the initials of TE Stockwell, who was a partner in the firm of tea suppliers, and CO from Jack's surname.

1929 - Mr Cohen opened his first Tesco store in Burnt Oak, Edgware, North London.

1932 - Tesco Stores Limited became a private limited company

1934 - Mr Cohen bought a plot of land at Angela Road, Edmonton, North London to build a new headquarters and warehouse - the first modern food warehouse in the country.

Tesco continued to expand after the Second World War, but it was not until the 1970s that it started to challenge the “big boys” in the High Street.

1969 - Tesco opened the St Matthew's Street supermarket in Ipswich in 1969 - it was opened by television superstar Simon Dee and attracted a massive crowd.

1987 - Tesco opened the Copdock Mill superstore on the edge of Ipswich - and closed its St. Matthews store.

1991 - Joy Watling starts working for the company.

1995 - Tesco becomes Britain's biggest food retailer, overtaking arch-rivals Sainsburys.

Today

2007 - As well as groceries Tesco now provides insurance, loans, mortgages, allows customers to shop online and offers home delivery.

Tesco has 2,365 stores, employing 326,000 people in Britain, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Turkey, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan.

It has just opened its first stores in the USA.

2005 - Tesco announces annual profits of a £2 billion. UK sales rise to an incredible £29.5 billion.

Did you know: One in every eight pounds spent on consumer goods in Britain is spent at Tesco!

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