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Dad and daughter Ali and Shelly from Cookstown celebrate Father's Day

June 16, 2023 09:40am
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Happy Father's Day to dads everywhere – like Ali Glendenning who works alongside his daughter Shelly at our Cookstown store.

The pair are well-known fundraisers in the community having raised more than £20,000 for local charity Superstars Club which helps young people with learning disabilities, including Ali's 21-year-old son Callum, who is autistic.

Home shopping driver Ali is 58 and has worked at Asda Cookstown for two years, while 35-year-old counters colleague Shelly has been at the store for 17 years.

Shelly, who has a five-year-old daughter Maliah, said: "It's great working at the same place at my dad. I only live a few doors down from him and my mam, Ovella, so I always pop there for a coffee on the way to work as he's an early riser. We're only a three-minute drive to work too; literally round the corner.

"I worked at the store first. My daddy was a window cleaner for 30 years before joining Asda but unfortunately he had a knee replacement so ladders weren't an option for him. There was a driver's position which was perfect for him.

"Colleagues here at the store think it's great that we both work at the store. It's a very friendly store, and we're friends both inside and outside of work as well. Everyone loves my dad. He's a biker so he's always going on his motorbike and colleagues always come out to look at it.

"I'm not sure what we are doing on Father's Day but we'll probably go out for a meal."

Ali says it's lovely working with daughter.

He said: "She's such a friendly girl, everyone loves her here. She comes round to ours on a morning for a coffee and when she's at work she brings me one out when I'm loading my van.

"I love the teamwork at the store and all the customers are great. Colleagues love to see my Harley Davidson – I joke with then that they can look but they can't touch. I've had my current one for two years, and she's my pride and joy."

For the past few years, Ali and Shelly have organised an annual rock night in the Railway Bar in Cookstown for the Superstars Club.

This year, along with another colleague, Elaine Nelson who lives across the road from Ali and Shelly, they raised £4,010 which was further boosted by Asda match funding of £1,200.

Superstars Club has steadily grown since it was founded in 2005 and in 2013 it opened Superstars Cafe which is run by volunteers who train young people with learning disabilities in a range of skills including kitchen work, baking, and general hospitality duties. Across the street, Superstars also have an enterprise centre where they can train young people in a variety of other areas, including horticulture and environmental work.

Shelly said: "My brother goes to Superstars so every year we do a fundraiser for them. We have raised £20,000 so far with our rock nights. Bands play music like ACDC. People come from all over, even England, to support it. Superstars is a great place."

Ali added: "There's something on every night at Superstars for Callum. It's a great community down here, that's why we started to fundraise to give something back."

Store manager Peter Beckett said: "Ali and Shelly are both brilliant. They are big personalities within the store; they are really happy with their work and are the life and soul of the place.

"We are very much a family store here and having a father and daughter in store creates even more of a family atmosphere.

"It's fantastic that they have raised so much money for the Superstars Club over the years. We are super proud of them."

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