Breaking GOSPORT Hampshire

A very happy retirement to our much-loved porter Ron Withers, who at the age of 90 is one of Asda colleagues

Ron joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1948 and spent time in Suez and parts of Korea as a driver and signalman helping to transport members of the Armed Forces before becoming a chauffeur for the Royal Family, based at Lambeth Palace.

He’s worked at the  Gosport store for almost 20 years and colleagues refer to him as “the store’s grandad”.

The store’s community champion Rachel Webber said: “Ron is really going to missed by everyone. He is our store grandad and is always happy to share a pearl of wisdom with colleagues and customers.

“He’s always been a bit of a cheeky chap who says it as it is! During my time as community champion I’ve developed quite a bond with him and he’s always first in the queue for any fundraising.

Ron Withers, 90, from Asda Gosport is one of the UK's oldest supermarket workers

 

“Ron’s so well loved by everyone at the store and it showed when we held a bit of a retirement and birthday party for him – colleagues even came in on their day off to see him.

“We got him a hamper filled with all his Asda favourites that he enjoys such as pork pies, steak slices and cheese puffs.

“He’s been a bit poorly this year and customers have been asking after him and wishing him well.

“We all wish Ron a very happy retirement and hope to see him at the store soon in his new mobility scooter!”

Ron Withers, 90, from Asda Gosport works with his daughter Lynn Reynolds

 

Great-grandad Ron, whose daughter Lynn Reynolds is the admin manager at the store, says he will miss everyone at Asda.

He said: “I have really looked forward to coming to work. I have got to know colleagues and customers and it’s always great to see them.

“Now I’m 90 years young my family and I felt it was the right time to step down and enjoy my retirement. The colleagues are all like family to me and I will definitely be popping back to the store to make sure they are coping without me. It was lovely to see so many colleagues come to wish me well and I am really overwhelmed by their generosity “

Lynn said: “It’s been a great opportunity to work with my dad. It’s meant that I have been able to see him most days and I know how much he has enjoyed working here.

“It’s been really heartwarming to see how the colleagues have come together to give my Dad a great send off to enjoy his retirement.”

Ron Withers, 90, from Asda Gosport is one of the UK's oldest supermarket workers

 

Catherine Curtis, the store’s new manager, pictured above with Ron, Lynn and some of his relatives, added: “As I haven’t joined the store for long I was really pleased to me able to meet Ron and put a face to the character that I have heard so much about. On behalf of the store I would like to thank Ron for all his service to the store and wish him a very happy 90th birthday and a relaxing retirement.”

Ron has had a colourful career. After leaving the Army he worked as a chauffeur for the Royal Family working out of Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence Lambeth Palace, driving people including Prince Charles and Princess Anne to various engagements until he first retired in 1996.

Ron Withers, 90, from Asda Gosport is one of the UK's oldest supermarket workers

 

Speaking in 2017, Ron said: “They were always very polite with me although you didn’t really have a conversation with them. Princess Anne would often have a joke with me and say ‘oh you again’ when she saw me in the the driver’s seat.”

On Remembrance Day he always proudly arrived at our store wearing his medals and stood with members of the Royal British Legion in the foyer.

A very happy retirement

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