Freckleton mum and grandmother bids an emotional farewell after nine years as Tesco's community champion in Blackpool

A community stalwart has vowed to continue helping others, following her retirement from her charitable role at Tesco.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 2:20 pm
Lynn Sumner says goodbye after nine years as Tesco's community champion

Lynn Sumner, of Freckleton, said goodbye to colleagues and customers at Tesco in Clifton Retail Park, Blackpool, after nine years as community champion.The 62-year-old joined the supermarket 23 years ago, but when a vacancy came up for the community champion role, her manager knew she was the right woman for the job.

Lynn said: “I worked on the check out and customer service desk when a job came up in community. My boss said it had my name on it, so I applied.”She became a force to be reckoned with as she contacted various charities and began helping them in their fund-raising.

She has been pivotal in leading the store’s Bags of Help community grant scheme, donating to a host of causes following a blue token voting system with shoppers. Her efforts have meant regularly supporting Streetlife, providing orange survival kits to rough sleepers and even sleeping rough with Tesco’s fund-raising colleagues for the Big Sleep Out with Streetlife.

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Lynn Sumner says goodbye after nine years as Tesco's community champion

Her work with the homeless has stretched to supporting The Bridge Project, in partnership with Blackpool Council and Blackpool Proms to tackle sexual exploitation and supplying items for its food bank.

Other notable achievements have included being part of the DIY SOS team when BBC crews completed a £1m makeover of Blackpool Carers Centre – Beaverbrooks House and dressing as a pink lady in celebration of Stanley Park’s 90th anniversary.

She has worked alongside Day of Sunshine, in Lytham, to provide treats for children who are going through a hard time and is known to be very crafty when highlighting the work of dementia charities and hospitals.

Lynn added: “Clifton House was making a memory room for its dementia patients, so I helped by providing tea sets, doilies and lace table cloths. We raised a lot of money for baby monitors at the neo natal unit at Blackpool Victoria and I still have a few people around the community knitting items, such as hats and blankets for babies, who will continue to drop items off at the store.“We also have a Christmas tree which has had up to 900 names of children who deserve a present.”

Tesco donated survival bags, that stop sleeping bags from getting wet, to Blackpool Streetlife. L-R Alan Williams of the FA, Victoria Crook and Lynn Sumner from Tesco, Rachel Day and Rachel Lett from Streetlife in 2017

Lynn’s work has not gone unnoticed, as she was honoured by the High Sheriff of Lancashire, John Barnett in 2017. She was also nominated by the Gazette twice in its Retail and Leisure Awards.Lynn said: “I was so proud to get the High Sheriff’s award as only five were given out. However, I am most proud of the community and making memories that will last a lifetime. It has been a privilege for work with the community on behalf of Tesco. I have made so many connections and it is humbling to help some others. The support I have had from the public is overwhelming.”

Lynn added she plans to enjoy her retirement, spending more time with her husband, two sons and three grandsons.But she plans to continue volunteering. She said: “I will come back to see people. I have already planned to help out at Penny Farm and RNLI’s open days, as well as the Race for Life in July.”

Representatives of various charities were at the Tesco superstore in Marton for the launch of the supermarket and Sunrise Rotary Club's Children at Christmas appeal. In front of the Christmas tree are representatives from Sunrise Rotary Club, Barnardo's, Sure Start and Aspired with Tesco Community Champion Lynn Sumner holding box in 2012
Andrew Trotter, Manager of the Boars Head pub, Preston Old Road, presents 600 worth of food and toys to Blackpool Salvation Army Bridge Project Manager Beverley Taylor(right). Also pictured is volunteer Lynn Sumner in 2015