When Britain's oldest identical twins Doris Hobday and Lil Cox were asked what the best present would be for their 96th birthday there were only two things on their list ... a trip to their local Asda and to meet Jason Statham.
Lil's granddaughter Kerry Clarke says she hasn't been able to arrange a date with the Hollywood-based actor yet, but the twins were delighted when colleagues at our Great Bridge store pulled out all the stops to give them an extra special visit, inviting them in before the store opened so they could have the run of the store.
The twins have been shielding since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and hadn't left the warden-assisted accommodation where they live for six months prior to their trip to Asda. Even though they'll now have to self-isolate for seven days they say it's been well worth it.
Lil said: "It's absolutely lovely to go back – they treated us like royalty.
"We shall want to go out again tomorrow now. Even though we've got to stay in for a few days it's been worth it."
Doris said: "It was absolutely marvellous. The Queen couldn't have had it any better than us. It's better than a trip to Blackpool.
"We bought what we wanted and it was nice to see the colleagues. They were all waving at us, because they know us don't they?"
The highlight for Lil? "Picking my own bacon. It's nice when someone else does it for you, but there's nothing better than choosing the ones you want.
"Because we hadn't been for so long we had forgotten which aisle was which, but it was so lovely to be back.
"We'll be back as soon as we can. When we're out of lockdown we'll be back straight away."
Kerry said: "Thank you to everyone at Asda who's helped make this happen. They have definitely made their year. They've had a rubbish six months with the lockdown, but this has put a real spring in their step.
"They love their weekly visits to Asda but they hadn't been shopping for six months now and Aunt Doris said 'It will be nice to pick my own chops again."
In the end she didn't choose a chop, going for a ham hock instead.
"They've started playing bingo which they enjoy, so I said to Nan and Aunt Doris that they have got the choice of either going to Asda shopping and having to shelter for a week or carrying on as normal and they said, 'That's it – we'll go to Asda and see the colleagues!'
"I asked Aunt Doris what they're looking forward to about the visit the most and she said 'Putting my shoes on for the first time in six months!'
"We take that for granted, but it makes you realise what shielding for so long involves.
"I'm really proud of them both. they're such a breath of fresh air whatever they do and I know that this is giving them both such a big boost."
Parv Basi, the store's community champion, says Lil and Doris's visit put a huge smile on everyone's faces.
She said: "They're so nice, and they make everyone happy whatever they do.
"They loved coming in through the side door, a bit like a VIP entrance. They did their shopping, getting everything they normally would – including a couple of bottles of whisky – and had a little dance in the aisles, as well as doing the Asda Pocket Tap.
"Everyone who saw them spoke to them, saying hi or giving them a wave.
"It's the best thing that's happened here for months since the start of the Covid crisis and it puts a smile on everyone's face to see them. They were absolutely great and appreciated everything."