SUPERMARKET manager Peter Thorogood likes to have a laugh with his valued customers.
So when Jean Herridge told him it was her 93rd birthday soon, he joked that he’d get her a cake and lay on a spread when she popped in for her groceries.
When great-grandmother Mrs Herridge, of Catherington Lane, Horndean, visited Morrisons yesterday for her weekly shop she was stunned to be greeted by staff with balloons and a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday in the supermarket cafe.
A little overwhelmed by all the attention, Mrs Herridge said: ‘I wasn’t planning on doing anything apart from going to my son and daughter-in-law’s house for tea.
‘I thought that’s what they were picking me up for.
‘I come here every Thursday to do my shopping. It’s a lovely thing to do. I’m a bit overwhelmed.’
One of the people behind the tea party was Maurice Payne, Mrs Herridge’s next-door neighbour.
He said: ‘I’ve known Jean for many years and she is the most wonderful neighbour.
‘She is always popping in on the neighbours and making sure they are alright. Jean helps me out whenever I have troubles.
‘That’s why this is so lovely for her. She really deserves a nice celebration.’
Other shoppers gathered around to sing Happy Birthday to Mrs Herridge who tucked into a strawberry and chocolate sponge cake with Mr Thorogood, her son Doug, and another shopper, Vic Stamp, who joined the party.
The 94-year-old, of Milton Road, Cowplain, said: ‘I’ve never met Mrs Herridge before but it was jolly nice to join her for tea.’
As another treat, Mrs Herridge, who takes great pride in her appearance, was given a free wash and blow-dry at her hairdresser’s, The Village Salon, in Havant Road.