New Year's honour for Jo – the 'heart and soul' of Asda Pwllheli
Congratulations to our Pwllheli store's community champion Jo Scott who's been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours for her tireless work supporting the local community.
Jo's been honoured by the Queen in recognition for all that she's done in the local area since the start of the pandemic – and she says it came as a complete surprise.
She said: "My dog Tess got hold of the letter as soon as it dropped through the letterbox so I had to get it off her. I saw that it was marked 'On Her Majesty's Service' and thought, 'It can't be a speeding ticket – maybe I've been called up for jury service.'
"When I opened it and saw it was from the Cabinet Office and that I'd been nominated for the British Empire Medal I was gobsmacked; absolutely stunned. I was looking at the letter and just couldn't believe my eyes."
Jo, who's worked at the store in North Wales since it opened 15 years ago, has been married to Andrew for 32 years. They have a son, Michael, and two grandchildren, Harrison and Ivy.
She said "I am really buzzing about it, and I can't wait to tell people about it. The only person who knows is Andrew, and I haven't even told Michael.
"Ivy's named after my late mum, who was such an important figure in my life. I just wish she could have seen what I've managed to achieve, because I'm so proud of what our little store has done for the local community during the pandemic and the years before that."
Jo's a passionate supporter of our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity campaign after losing a number of close relatives and friends to breast cancer, and is always at the heart of the store's support for BBC Children in Need, the local foodbank and other good causes.
She's arranged help for a number of people in the community when they've needed a little extra support and works closely with local schools – securing a donation of laptops to help with home schooling during the pandemic.
Jo, who's English, has also been learning to speak Welsh to help her better connect with local customers.
She said: "We're a really tight-knit community here and I think it's so important to pull together and do what we can. Being a community champion is a job I absolutely love and adore and it means so much to know that people in the community appreciate what I'm able to do on behalf of Asda to nominate me for this honour."
Warren Welsh, senior manager for our supermarkets in the North West, has seen first-hand Jo's incredible care and affection for the local community.
He said: "She's the heart and soul of Asda in Pwllheli. You only need to look at the store Instagram or Facebook pages and you see her efforts are tireless. She's the mother of the store and the community spirit she shows is the most sincere I have ever seen. Her efforts for people in the local community, and for her colleagues, never end. She's phenomenal and Asda is represented so well by Jo.
"She rallies around people when they need help or support – whether it's making collections, arranging donations from Asda or giving motherly advice.
"She's never down and always enthusiastic, and has helped so many people, charities and good causes over the years. She's got such a big heart and I can't think of anyone more deserving of recognition in the New Year's Honours. I'm chuffed to bits for her."
Roger Burnley, who served as Asda’s Chief Executive Officer until August this year, has also been recognised for his service during the pandemic, receiving a CBE in recognition of services to retail and feeding the nation whilst leading Asda.
He said: "I am incredibly proud, and humbled, by this recognition. Everyone in the UK food industry has done an amazing job against the relentless backdrop of the Covid pandemic and no one more so than our fantastic Asda colleagues, who have worked tirelessly and selflessly throughout to feed the nation.”
A total of 19 Asda colleagues have now been given Honours by Her Majesty to recognise their work over the last two years.
Mohsin and Zuber Issa said: “We’re delighted and incredibly proud that once again our great business has been recognised in the New Year Honours list. We are constantly impressed by the hard work and dedication of all the team here at Asda and these Honours are well-deserved recognition – not just of Roger and Jo – but of everything everyone at Asda has done throughout the pandemic to support the communities they serve.”