Before starting my nursing training, I worked for a few months at the John Lewis store in Sheffield. At that time, it was named Cole Brothers and my role involved stocking shelves and being a general dogsbody in the Christmas Decoration section. The store was a landmark in the city centre and I remember meeting many friends and relatives at the entrance.
Every morning I caught the bus that seemed to race along the roads, wiggling across the moors before it slowed for the city traffic. In the evening, I shed glitter over its seats and aisles and no matter how often I washed my waist-long hair, those tiny shiny specs stuck like limpets.
We were a partnership, a group of employees who looked after one another and who genuinely loved working for a company that rewarded our loyalty. I loved being a witness to the excitement of shoppers as they chose their baubles and tinsel. It was a magical workplace.
The distribution of the bonus caused great cheer and even though I was a temporary employee, I took home my share.
The news that John Lewis is closing the Sheffield store breaks my heart. One more thing this pandemic has stolen. My memories of my time there will last forever.