QUEUES stretched around the block at the opening of a new multi-million Asda supermarket in Sheffield – which was unveiled by a locally-nominated community hero.
Norma Ashmore, founder member of Parson Cross Forum, was chosen for the role due to her work as a member of the tenants’ and residents’ association and her help in organising the annual Parson Cross festival and Christmas fair.
Norma got the VIP treatment as she officially opened the store, receiving £100 in Asda vouchers and a personal congratulations from MP David Blunkett.
The Brightside and Hillsborough Labour MP has supported the building of Asda on the site since the original planning application, because of the investment and jobs it brings to the area.
He said: “I’ve been very pleased indeed to be part of this and to work alongside local people in transforming the area, raising morale and building hope for the future.
“If anyone deserves to be recognised as a local hero it is Norma Ashmore. I have known her for years and admire greatly her caring, committed and tenacious work on behalf of the people of Parson Cross, sometimes against the odds.
“Without Norma and people like her, the community would not have improved and the prospects for the future would be nowhere near as bright as they look today.”
The store, on Chaucer Road, has created 350 new jobs, 50 per cent of which have been filled by people who live within walking distance, helping tackle high unemployment in the area.
The unique £23 million development has several advanced features, including living walls and roof, an environmentally-friendly energy system and five entrances to make the store as accessible as possible.
Store manager Steve Ryan is from Sheffield and has had 34 years in the business, starting out on Asda’s shop floor.
He said: “It’s a real honour to welcome Norma as our local hero to meet our colleagues and Mr Blunkett, in recognition of her work in Parson Cross.
“I want our colleagues to reflect her work ethic and sense of community and make our customers proud.”