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How colleague Aimee combines picking home shopping orders with working as a firefighter

June 9, 2022 10:45am
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Everyone at our South Woodham Ferrers store is so proud of their 19-year-old colleague Aimee Freeman who combines working as part of the home shopping team with being an on-call firefighter.

Aimee carries a pager with her from Monday to Friday and is always ready to make the short dash to the fire station in case of an emergency.

She said: "I've been doing it for two months now, so it's still pretty new, but I'm so glad I do it. My dad was in the Army, so I've always understood the importance of public service and had it in the back of my mind that I would like to do something that's both active and that helps people."

Aimee started working at Asda last August, switching from the checkouts to home shopping late last year, and says her managers have been a great support.

She said: "I'm really lucky to have had the support of my managers, and Will, who was our manager at the time, said it would be alright to release me if I had to answer a call. If my pager goes off I'll just have to stop whatever I'm doing and run for it, as I've got to be there within five minutes. I've only had a couple of calls so far, so I haven't caused too much disruption!

"Everyone's so nice about it, though some of them were surprised at first when they heard I'd become a retained firefighter and said they couldn't imagine me doing it. But it means a lot hearing that they're proud of me."

Aimee said that with the support of her dad Jason, step-mum Jo and mum Lorraine she's adapting to the twin demands of her career.

She said: "My dad in particular absolutely loves it and has been alongside me all the way. He took me to my fitness test and he's always there for me.

"I'm the only female firefighter at our station, and I'm the youngest too, though we've also got Ben and Bradley there who are 20, which is nice.

"When I first got the pager I barely slept because I was expecting it to go off, but I'm sleeping better now as I settle into the role.

Store manager Olli Gregory, who joined the store last month, says Aimee's twin role is something that all her colleagues are supportive of.

He said: "I've only been at the store for a couple of weeks, but Aimee's firefighting role was one of the first things people told me about, as everyone's really proud of her.

"It's quite an exceptional thing to see in retail, and not something I'd come across before, but it's such an amazing thing to do. I know her family are all really proud of her, as are we.

"I've got so much respect for her, as it must be extremely demanding to manage that alongside working in retail."

And the store's community champion Lisa Kelly said: "It's a pretty amazing thing to do at any age, but to be doing this at 19 is really exceptional. She's a happy young lady and wants to make a difference – and that's something that's so nice to see after everything everyone's been through over the last couple of years."

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