Our Lowestoft store’s handyman Jeff Drayton loves going out of his way to help everyone – and the store's community champion Bev Shipp says he does so much for her in and out of work he's like a father to her.
Bev’s dad and stepfather both died when she was young and she says Jeff – a former semi-finalist on Britain's Got Talent – has been an amazing friend to her since she joined Asda 10 years ago.
On Father’s Day she will be sending Jeff a special thank you card from herself and her now grown-up children, Brandon and Brodie, to let him know just how much he means to them.
She said: "Jeff's a brilliant father to his own children and grandchildren, so it's lovely that he has been a father figure to me too. I hadn't had a male role model since I was younger until the lovely Jeff came into my life when I joined the Asda Lowestoft. He has been a father figure to me and my whole family love him. My sons say he is the grandfather they never had.
"While my sons were in their early teens they both had bikes which were always getting punctures and as a single mum I didn't have anyone to show us how to fix them.
"Jeff heard me telling my colleague and offered to pop in and teach my sons how to do it. That was the beginning of the amazing friendship we now have.
"For a good 10 years now Jeff has been there to do all my little odd jobs I can't manage. He will often just pop in on his way home from the store for a coffee and a catch up. If I tell him that something needs fixing he comes round.
“He has also helped other store colleagues too with bits and pieces that they needed doing. He is just a lovely person. Nothing is too much trouble."
A very modest Jeff, who’s still busy outside work entertaining people, said he was touched by Bev’s comments.
He said: "I am only happy to help anyone who needs it. I am always here to lend a hand. It's no problem.”
Jeff, who’s married with two children and two grandchildren, is a popular figure at Lowestoft's James Paget Hospital where he visits the children's ward twice a week to make balloon models, perform magic tricks and let the youngsters meet his famous puppet Chantel.
Jeff said: "I love doing it. We have a tremendous laugh. It is just something that needs to be done. I have a talent which I use to its best advantage. I know I am going to cheer them up.”
He keeps himself busy – he’s recently featured on German television with Chantel, filmed a programme showing the funniest acts on Britain’s Got Talent and he has just finished a new book of amusing poems called Poems From The Cannon.