Why 75-year-old fudge-maker Jean from Ashington is 'an absolute treasure'
Our wonderful colleague Jean Donnelly has been going out of her way to give the best possible service at her checkout at our Ashington store for the last 21 years – and customers have been posting on Facebook to say just much they love her.
Regular customer Kimberley Barnett posted on the Ashington's Getting Better Facebook group to thank Jean for her kindness, calling her "a kind soul and an inspiration to us all".
Kimberley said: "I went in tonight and went to pay and was greeted by the most delightful lady! Jean was my cashier and was telling me about all her fudge recipes and then told me she was 75 and had worked for them for 21years.
"I'm not easily impressed, but I really value the conversation we had. We need more folk like Jean, spreading kindness to everyone they meet.
"We adore her and she is so amazing. She is an independent lovely lady that's still fit enough to work. She contributes so much to the local community just by being her lovely self. She is a national diamond. If Jean is your mum or grandmother give her a big hug from me."
Her post got dozens of fantastic comments from people saying how much they appreciate Jean. They included:
"I love her too! Gives me the best fudge recipes whenever I go to her till. Truly lovely lady"
"Ah she is absolutely lovely she makes a lovely convo with me every time too x
"Jean is an lovely woman very kind an caring xx"
"I've known Jean for over 30 years she is a lovely lady"
Jean says she loves making customers happy at her checkout.
She said: "I love my job because I meet a lot of nice people and make friends among my colleagues, and I enjoy helping and chatting to customers. It's a very friendly store here. The best place I've ever worked.
"I do have my regular customers and I do like to be friendly. What you see is what you get with me."
Jean, who has four children, 20 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, has been making fudge for about five years.
She said: "I found the fudge recipe in an Asda magazine and have made it since then. I usually do a batch once a month and bring it in. It's very easy to do. I try to experiment sometimes too with different flavours and toppings. I enjoy giving the recipe out to anyone who's interested.
Customer trading manager Lianne Hedley says everyone at the store loves Jean.
She said: "Jean is loved by colleagues and customers alike for her warmth and kindness. She loves to offer recipes and suggestions for customers whilst on the checkouts and often talks about her infamous fudge!
"Jean truly is a credit to the department and always has a big smile on her face! If you're lucky to be served by Jean you’ll not forget her – she’s just a sweetheart. She is an absolute treasure!"
Susan Storie, the store's service section leader, said: "Jean is an absolute diamond of a colleague. She is always very smiley and happy to help everyone.
"She's also famous for her fudge and I can confirm that it is delicious! Her recipes are well received by customers and very well enjoyed by her colleagues and although I enjoy all her fudge, the chocolate caramel is my favourite. She does bring in fudge for colleagues and always makes sure there is a portion for her section leader on duty that day!"
And the store's community champion Amanda Sheldon said: "She's a lovely lady who loves to bring us treats and always steps in at a moment's notice to cover sick colleagues. I enjoy her sweet treats; she's just a lovely lady."
Here's Jean's recipe for chocolate fudge:
400g milk chocolate
Tin of condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
Melt in short bursts in the microwave then stir to make sure there's no lumps. Pour into a lined brownie tin and put Smarties on top. Allow to cool.