Workers’ generosity reduces woman to tears

TOUCHED: Maureen Barnes with Tesco workers Julie Smith and Kayleigh Roberts (left) and the television they bought for her through a sponsored silence.
TOUCHED: Maureen Barnes with Tesco workers Julie Smith and Kayleigh Roberts (left) and the television they bought for her through a sponsored silence.
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A LONG Melford woman could barely believe her eyes after two Tesco workers bought her an extra special delivery.

Maureen Barnes, 67, from St Catherine’s Road, suffers from wet macular degeneration, which means she has severely deteriorated central vision and has to have injections in her eyes every four weeks.

As she can no longer drive, Mrs Barnes uses the online delivery service from Tesco in Sudbury with the aid of a magnified screen, which led to her meeting Julie Smith, personal shopping team leader, and her colleague Kayleigh Roberts.

“I came round one day on deliveries and we had a cup of tea and got chatting,” said Miss Smith, from Warner Place in Sudbury, whose grandmother also suffered with the condition.

“I came back a few times and I asked Maureen if she could see her small television and she said no.”

Miss Roberts added: “Julie came into work and said we have got to do something. We had loads of ideas and then one of the managers said ‘I’ll give you £20 if you can stop talking’.”

The pair undertook an eight-hour sponsored silence in late February and, following generous donations from staff, customers, friends and family, raised £460 for a new widescreen television, which they presented to a shocked Mrs Barnes on their next visit.

“She just stood there with tears in her eyes,” said Miss Smith.

As well as the top-of-the-range television, the pair also bought Mrs Barnes an indoor aerial for her old television and gave her the remaining money as a contribution towards her next shop.

“Now I don’t need to wear my glasses and I can see faces, which is just amazing,” said Mrs Barnes, who has two daughters – including Debbie Towning of Skates Hill in Glemsford, who teaches at Tudor Primary School in Sudbury – as well as three grandchildren.

“You can’t come to terms with that sort of generosity, but I want everybody to know how thankful I am.

“It has made a world of difference.”