East Anglia: East of England Co-op presents its staff ‘OSCAS’

THE largest independent retailer in East Anglia has celebrated the achievements of its staff at its own version of the “OSCAS”.

The East of England Co-operative Society held its OSCAS (Outstanding Service to Customers And Staff) ceremony at its Wherstead Park headquarters outside Ipswich, attended by more than 200 guests from across the region.

Awards were presented to outstanding individuals and top-performing branches across Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk, culminating with the overall Society of the Year Award, chosen from among the category winners.

The 2011 title went to Keith Howard, butcher manager at the Co-op supermarket in Halstead, who has been employed by the society for 44 years.

Colleagues praised him as “friendly and enthusiastic”, “a truly professional employee”, “hard working and dedicated” and always ready to help.

Maria McGettigan, group general manager – HR, at the society, said: “The OSCAS provides a fantastic opportunity for people across all of our work locations to nominate colleagues whom they felt had helped them personally or made an exceptional contribution to the society and its customers.

“Sincere congratulations go to all of our winners and to Keith Howard on becoming our Employee of the year, which is a great accolade.”

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The awards ceremony was hosted by writer, broadcaster and former MP Gyles Brandreth. The full line-up for winners and finalists was:

Supermarket of the Year: Gold, Framlingham; Silver, Hadleigh; Also nominated, Long Stratton, Mersea.

Local Food Store of the Year: Gold, Wickham Market; Silver, Debenham; Also nominated: Coggeshall, Wivenhoe.

Specialist Operation of the Year: Gold, Maldon Funeral; Silver, Distribution Centre; Also nominated, Felixstowe Optical, Gorleston Funeral.

Supermarket Employee of the Year: Gold, Keith Howard, butchery manager, Halstead; Silver, James Smith, manager’s assistant, Mersea; Also nominated, Janet Bozier, Felixstowe, Dean Collier, Clacton, Holly Pontin, Felixstowe, Richard Smith, Leiston

Local Food Store Employee of the Year: Gold, Christine Owers, checkout operator, Kelvedon; Silver, Sarah Palmer, assistant manager, Spixworth; Also nominated: Donna Allan, Costessey, Alan Bloomfield, Chantry, Fay Moulton, Coopers Lane, Aaron Read, Rushmere.

Specialist Employee of the Year: Gold: Tracey Bedford, customer service assistant, Henley Rise Pharmacy; Silver, Mick Baggott, warehouse operative, Distribution Centre; Also nominated, Nigel Cowie, Distribution Centre, Tony Hird, St Stephens Funeral; Linda Lawrence, Floristry, Margaret Thorpe, Nacton Road Pharmacy.

Non-Trading Employee of the Year: Gold, Carole Burroughs, HR administrator; Silver, John Gray, central services clerk, commercial department; Also nominated, Carina Andrews, member and community services, Garry Armour, IT services, Wendy Bradbeer, payroll, Lorraine Nicholls, trading group office.

Society Employee of the Year: Keith Howard, butcher manager, Halstead.