Asda Gosport colleagues gather to wish Ron a happy 86th birthday
Happy 86th birthday to our fabulous colleague Ron Withers who colleagues at our Gosport store say is “everyone’s favourite Asda grandad”.
Ron, who was a member of the Royal Corps of Signals and chauffeured royalty before joining Asda as a porter 15 years ago, says he has no plans to retire and is happy helping customers much younger than him with their weekly shop.
To celebrate his big day colleagues, including Ron’s daughters Lynn Reynolds and Julie Barber who both work at the store, made him a cake and gathered to wish him many happy returns.
He began working for Asda after his wife Janet passed away and is a hugely popular figure with colleagues and customers. Every year he also sells poppies in the foyer for the Royal British Legion.
Ron, who is a great-grandad, said: "I enjoy the job itself, I enjoy getting out and about and it’s great to be able to talk to people – customers and colleagues.
“I help some of our regular customers with their shopping and have got to know many of them quite well, although hardly any of them know how old I am – I don’t tell them unless they directly ask.
“Often they will say, ’I’m in my seventies now Ron, I need a hand, I’m getting older.’ I daren’t tell them my age!
“I’ll carry on until I can’t keep going any longer or until they no longer want me. Anything the customers want doing I will do it.”
Lynn is Admin Process Manager and has worked for Asda for 34 years, and her sister Julie is an Asda Ace.
Lynn said: “He took it on as a part-time role when my mum Janet passed away and he’s carried on. He does it because he enjoys it, he likes company and it’s a social thing for him too. Customers know him and stop to chat to him, which he loves.”
Ron joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1948 and spent time in Suez and parts of Korea as a driver and signalman helping to transport members of the Armed Forces.
He then then became a chauffeur at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence Lambeth Palace, driving people including Prince Charles and Princess Anne to various engagements until he first retired in 1996.
He said: “They were always very polite with me although you didn’t really have a conversation with them. Princess Anne would often have a joke with me and say ‘oh you again’ when she saw me in the the driver’s seat.”
Asda Gosport’s General Store Manager Scott Allam said: "He’s full of the joys of spring even on a cold day. He’s a great guy and a gentleman. He’s very well thought of by colleagues – he’s everyone’s Asda grandad.
“He’s very popular with customers too, he says hello to everybody and has got to know some of our regular customers well.”