VIDEO: Sheffield John Lewis staff celebrate bonus

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ELATED bride-to-be Helen Southwick has kissed her ‘wedding debt’ goodbye after receiving a 17 per cent bonus at work.

The 26-year-old welcomed the news she will receive a figure equal to nine weeks’ pay, just hours ahead of her wedding ceremony tomorrow.

John Lewis - bonus announcement

John Lewis - bonus announcement

“Weddings are so expensive, no matter how hard you try to keep costs down, but the pressure is off now!” she told The Star, after joining her colleagues at John Lewis for their annual bonus announcement.

Jubilant staff gathered in the Sheffield branch yesterday morning to be told that 84,700 ‘partners’ nationwide will each get a piece of a whopping £210.8m pie, following a profitable year.

Helen, who will marry fiance Peter at The Old Rectory in Handsworth this weekend, said: “We’re off on honeymoon to Egypt and the bonus means we’re not coming back to wedding debt which is the best present we could hope for.

“It’s also going to pay for various activities and excursions we were hoping to do while we’re away - I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

And love was definitely in the air, when Becky Morris revealed the bonus meant she too could nail down wedding plans - and finally go shopping for her dream dress.

“I’ve been waiting to go dress shopping with my mum - and now I can,” said Becky, 22.

“17 per cent was a lovely surprise and it comes at just the right time because we have a large bill mounting that this will take care of.

“We’re hoping to honeymoon in Las Vegas too and I think this might just have confirmed that.”

Margaret Machin will turn 70 in July and plans to use her bonus to ‘celebrate her seventies in style’.

“I’ve worked for John Lewis for 14 years and the annual bonus always does so much for me,” she revealed.

“I’ve used mine to refurbish the house, go on lovely holidays and put money away for retirement. This year I plan to put it towards getting the garden ready for the summer - a garden party would be nice for a 70th party.

“This is what we work for all year through and it’s lovely to hear everybody’s plans for the money.”

Amelia Barnes, 21, is excited to book her first holiday with her boyfriend and some driving lessons after receiving the bonus, while Paula Moore is planning to use the money to treat her partner and her mum.

Paula, who has worked at John Lewis for 14 years, was nominated to reveal the bonus in Sheffield as a result of the charity work she has done over the last 12 months.

She said: “Bonus day is always such an exciting day and all week long people have been trying to guess the figure.

“It was a fantastic moment when I opened that envelope and everybody started cheering. We’re all delighted with the percentage.”

Last year employees - who are treated as partners by John Lewis, sharing in the firm’s profits - received 14 per cent.

Head of branch James Prince said: “17 per cent is fabulous in the current climate and everybody’s really pleased to see the figure rising from year-to-year.

“This morning about 150 partners turned out to see the envelope being opened, as it’s such a great moment. Personally it means I can take the kids on holiday, update my blu-ray collection a little and maybe invest in some more Apple gadgets.

“There are definite merits of co-ownership and I think it’s great people have a vested interest in the business and want it to be successful.”