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Newmarket supermarket staff to make TV debut with Channel 5's documentary Inside Tesco: 24/7

Staff from Newmarket’s Tesco store have taken a starring role in a prime-time television documentary series about the business.

The first of three episodes airs on Channel 5 tonight and the series charts the hundred-year history of Tesco, as well as giving viewers a glimpse of how it serves millions of customers every day of the week with a special focus on the local Suffolk community, with staff from Newmarket featuring prominently throughout the series.

Newmarket store manager Alistair Thomson has a 10-year history with Tesco and reflected on how it had managed during the pandemic.

Community champion Zara Reynolds-Peirce and delivery driver Hamish Wakes-Miller with store manager Alistair Thomson. Picture by Mark Westley
Community champion Zara Reynolds-Peirce and delivery driver Hamish Wakes-Miller with store manager Alistair Thomson. Picture by Mark Westley

“The face of retail completely changed during the pandemic. Changes that would normally happen over 10 years happened in one night.

“From panic-buying to incredible acts of kindness and people pulling together to help each other, it was a year like no other.”

As store manager, he said he ensured he got to know every one of his team members and at the start of the pandemic, he recruited 110 colleagues and made an effort to learn all of their names.

Zara Reynolds, the store’s community champion, who also features in the documentary, worked alongside Alistair to provide support packages for low-income families who were struggling during the pandemic.

“During the lockdowns, it was really difficult not being able to visit the charities we support or carry out our regular fund-raising initiatives. However, as a team we worked hard to ensure that everyone was still supported,” she said.

“There isn’t one thing I don’t like about my role. I take great pride in helping others and it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to give something back to the local community.”

Newmarket resident Hamish Wakes-Miller joined the store as a delivery driver in March last year when his wine tour business was hit by the lockdown.

“It was a big change from working for myself, running a wine company to joining the world of retail and becoming a Tesco delivery driver. I love the interaction I have with the customers each day when making the deliveries,” said Hamish.

Often called Mr Merlot by his colleagues, Hamish contracted Covid-19 earlier this year after filming the documentary at the end of 2020.

“It was a scary time and I spent about a week in hospital, but I’m pleased to have made a full recovery and to be back at work making the deliveries to our lovely customers.”

Alistair added: “We all loved making the documentary and giving people the chance to understand what we do.

“We hope viewers enjoy seeing the Tesco team in action on their screens, along with the appearance of some of our very special customers too.”

Inside Tesco: 24/7 starts on Channel 5 tonight at 7pm.

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