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B&M Gravesend Opens With Help from a Very Special Lady

13 October 2016

B&M reached out to a very special lady to mark the opening of the new B&M Gravesend on Thursday.

Vera Purll, 95, was chosen as B&M’s Local Hero to officially open the new Home store on New Road, thanks to the key role she’s played in her community.

Mrs Purll had campaigned to keep the town’s Marks and Spencer open, prior to its closure and B&M replacing it.

The grandmother was the last customer when the M&S closed in September 2014, after a long campaign to keep the store open, including raising more than 800 out of 2,000 signatures on a petition.

She was given a round of applause and a parting gift from M&S staff when the store closed, and today she was also given a welcome gift from B&M colleagues at the store opening.

Vera was nominated as Gravesend’s local hero by the stores former Finance and Operations Manager, James Bozac.

He said: “Vera was our very last customer to leave the store and she tried so hard to get a petition signed to keep us open, I think it would be fitting that as she was our last customer she becomes your very first”.

As well as being the first person through the doors, Mrs Purll also received £250 worth of B&M vouchers as a thank you for being such a pivotal member of the community.

Vera was delighted B&M bosses have asked her to officially open the new store, commenting: “I have heard good things about what B&M has to offer so I am looking forward to opening the new store.

“I was the last shopper when my beloved M&S closed and I’m honoured to be the first B&M Gravesend customer!”

Carl Russell, store manager at B&M Gravesend said: “B&M bosses had been searching for someone truly deserving to receive an unforgettable morning.

Vera really stood out for us as she is someone who cares about her local community, particularly this site, and we couldn’t think of anyone better to open our store and become our very first customer”.

Gravesham Mayor, Councillor Greta Goatley, was also in attendance to add even more glamour to proceedings.

The new Gravesend store is the largest B&M in the South East, at 30,000sq ft., and has created 80 jobs for the local area.

As a B&M Home Store, shoppers will be able to browse the retailers wide range of branded and own label products, including toys, homewares, groceries and DIY.

Customers will also be able to enter the B&M Big Prize Bonanza, a free game show taking place at the store on Saturday 15th October to carry on the atmosphere.

Those who enter will be in with a chance of winning prizes including a Russell Hobbs Vacuum Cleaner, B&M vouchers, Cadbury’s Chocolates and much more.