Shrewsbury supermarket celebrates 'inspirational' porter still serving customers at 89

An Asda employee who is known by staff and customers for his 'infectious laugh and positive outlook' is still serving customers 22 years on.

John Bumford, 89, is one of Asda's oldest colleagues
John Bumford, 89, is one of Asda's oldest colleagues

John Bumford, who is 89 years old, is one of Asda's oldest colleagues and took up the role as porter at the Shrewsbury store in the year 2000.

Back then the store, off Old Potts Way, was a Safeway, and it was taken over by the British supermarket chain four years later.

Beloved by Shrewsbury shoppers, John has been serving customers for 22 years – since he retired from his 40-year-long career as a television engineer.

John said: "I always help the customers – especially the elderly, who are probably younger than I am.

"I'm always helping to take compost and topsoil to customers' cars. People are shocked by how old I am.

"Recently, one lady wanted some stones lifting into her car so I went over to help and she said she wanted someone younger.

"And I said 'what's wrong with me?' She said I wouldn't be able to do it and I said 'can't I?' and then proved her wrong.

"I do like to smile when I'm out – there's no point in crying is there? I always like to be friendly. If I can help someone I always will.

"The customers and I get on really well and I know most of them. I always say hello and ask how things are progressing at their homes."

John has been married to his wife Betty for 64 years and they have a daughter, Nicki, and a grandson, Oliver.

"I was getting under my wife's feet a bit when I retired so I thought I'd better get another job," John added.

"The job suits me and I've got no plans to retire. I love talking to customers – that interests me more than anything.

"People interest me as I get to find out more about them and they find out more about me. I'm always happy to chat.

"I wasn't sure whether I'd like the job when I first started but they said just give it a go for a month or two and see how you get on.

"It suited me fine. I don't even mind the weather, even if it's pouring down with rain."

John spent the majority of his career working as a television engineer, but also served in the Royal Air Force as a radio technician for 10 years.

He taught at the No 1 radio school at RAF Locking.

Store manager Kester Williams said: "John's friendly, positive attitude is an inspiration to others.

"Customers love him and he always has a smile on his face. He is always here, rain or shine, helping customers and other colleagues."

Dawn Boggis, customer trading manager said: "John is a perfect gentleman; he always puts a smile on people's faces.

"He is always so polite when he greets our customers and they all adore him. He's always happy to chat and willing to help."

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