Everyone at our Bury St Edmunds store is so proud of our amazing colleague Sue Dunn who has raised an incredible £10,000 to pay for a guide dog which will be named after her late husband Arthur.
Sue and Arthur – her husband of 31 years – both worked together at the store until he died of cancer on Christmas Day last year.
Sixty-five-year-old Sue said: "Arthur joined me working at Asda about five years ago and he really loved his job here. He once said it he had taken him 50 years to find a job he really loved. He loved working on the checkouts and speaking to customers.
"Arthur was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2018 but he fought it. He never gave up. Even after he had chemotherapy he came into work for a few shifts as he loved working here so much. He passed away on Christmas Day aged 67. It was a shock to us all.
"After that I just didn't know what day of the week it was. I just wanted to focus my mind on something, so I decided to raise money to buy a guide dog and name him Arthur in his memory. It was my project to get myself through the grief."
Sue, who along with Arthur has been a staunch supporter of the Bury St Edmunds branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind for more than 30 years, put her heart and soul into fundraising and organised many events and collections.
She said: "Arthur loved red. It was his favourite colour. We even had people wear red at his funeral. So we decided to have an Arthur Day in our store where colleagues wore red in memory of him and to raise money. We had collections too. Arthur was very popular with his colleagues and also customers."
The Arthur Day and a quiz night raised £600 for Sue's appeal and this was topped up by a matching donation from the Asda Foundation.
Then Sue, together with colleague Roberta Nash and her daughter Katie, organised a huge coffee morning – with 1,000 jars of jam – which brought in £1,899 for the appeal. This was matched again by the Asda Foundation which meant that her £10,000 had been reached.
Sue, a grandmother of four, said: "I've had really good support from everyone at Asda – they've all been brilliant. And I can't thank the Asda Foundation enough for their donations – I would not have reached the amount so soon without their help."
Sue, who was last year named runner-up in the Guide Dogs for the Blind's national volunteer of the year awards, said: "It's a fantastic charity and we have supported it for many years.
"My first husband, Keith, was blind so I know first hand how vital guide dogs are. He sadly died when he was 35. Arthur knew Keith so a few years later we decided to raise the money to name a guide dog after Keith."
Michelle Frost, the store's community champion, said: "We are so very proud of Sue for raising all that money. Everyone here at Asda Bury St Edmunds has been so supportive to her. Arthur was a very popular colleague and friend and it was such a shock when he died. Our Arthur Day and the quiz which we held were so well supported.
"Naming a guide dog after Arthur is such a positive way of remembering him."
Sue Clarke, chairwoman of Bury St Edmunds Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said: "I am so pleased that Sue is getting more recognition for all that she does for guide dogs.
"It's very fitting that she has worked so hard to raise money to sponsor a puppy called Arthur. Sue and Arthur were a great couple, always willing to help with a caring and happy attitude."
The support that she has received from Asda has been tremendous and we are all very grateful."
When the next litter of guide dogs are born at the charity's breeding centre one of them will will be named Arthur. The dog will when then be trained for two years before being given to a blind or visually impaired person.
Sue said: "During those two years I will be given updates and get the chance to meet Arthur too, which will be lovely."