Is this Gosport's oldest shop worker? Asda porter Ron is celebrating his 86th birthday
A FORMER chauffeur for the royal family has celebrated his 86th birthday with colleagues - and says he has no plans to put his feet up just yet.
Ron Withers started working as a porter at Gosport’s Asda branch 15 years ago after his wife Janet passed away.
He recently marked his birthday with the help of colleagues and his daughters Lynn and Julie, who both work at the Dock Road store.
But despite working into his eighties, Ron has promised not to retire any time soon.
He said: ‘I enjoy the job itself, I enjoy getting out 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 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, anything the customers want doing I will do it.’
Ron joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1948 and spent time in Suez and parts of Korea as a driver and signalman.
During his service he helped transport members of the armed forces, and later worked as a chauffeur.
He worked at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence Lambeth Palace, where he drove Prince Charles and Princess Anne to various engagements before retiring in 1996.
He said: ‘The royals 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 driver’s seat.’
Ron’s daughter Lynn, who has worked for Asda for 34 years, said: ‘He took it on as a part-time role when my mum 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.’
Ron continues his military service by selling poppies in the store’s foyer for the Royal British Legion.
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, well thought of by colleagues. He’s everyone’s Asda grandad.’
We’re looking for the inspiring stories of those from the older generation who are still hard at work in our local shops, restaurants and businesses.
If you know of someone who deserves a mention, contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling 02392 622114.