WENDY Skidmore has a unique-to- Kingswood claim to fame: the only place she has ever worked is Kings Chase shopping centre.
She started out in Sainsbury’s in 1975 at the age of 16 straight from school, staying there for seven years.
After a break to bring up children, she returned to the shopping centre in 1997 to join Wilko. Over 26 years, she has worked her way up to the position of Assistant Manager and has trained up almost every member of staff at the store.
Sadly, Wendy’s claim to fame is now at risk: Wilko has made her redundant, two years before she reaches retirement age, so she may now end up working outside of the shopping centre.
Wendy, who was born in Soundwell and is now 64, said: “The only two shops remaining that were in the shopping centre when I started there are Sainsbury’s and Boots.
“Sainsbury’s used to have long queues and feel very busy, but I think that’s because it took a long time to go through the checkout. Everything had to be keyed in and there were no self-service checkouts.
“Kings Chase used to have a lot more shops and not so many cafes back then. To get into the car park you had to pay 10p a day to a man in the booth, which later increased to 20p a day.
“I’m very sad to be leaving and it wasn’t my choice to go. Wilko got rid of the position of Assistant Manager in most stores and I’ve known since February I would be made redundant.
“I haven’t had a leaving do because there’s nothing to celebrate. I just feel sad because everyone there is like a big family. I’m going to have a break while I decide what to do next for work.”
A shopping centre spokesperson said: “We thank Wendy for her dedicated service and for being such a big part of Kings Chase shopping centre for so many years and we wish her the best for the future.”
Wilko announced earlier this year that it was cutting more than 400 jobs after a reduction in turnover and operational hours.