Shanklin Southern Co-op store manager Chris Boulton with James Knott

Source: Southern Co-op

Shanklin Southern Co-op store manager Chris Boulton with James Knott

Isle of Wight-based Chris Boulton, who has raised thousands of pounds for a cancer charity, is celebrating 30 years working for the local co-operative.

Chris Boulton was 26 when she started working at the brand new Southern Co-op food store in Cowes when it first opened its doors in 1993.

Over the years she has worked for most of The Co-operative Food stores on the island and worked her way up from customer service assistant to store manager.

Chris, who now manages Southern Co-op’s Shanklin store, said: “There have been so many changes over the years especially on the island with the amount of stores we now have. Going back to when I started, we had to count stock every day. It was so time consuming, whereas now the computer works out all of the orders for you. Technology has moved on so much. It is absolutely fantastic.

“I have worked my way up from the bottom and my philosophy is that I would never ask someone to do a job that I wouldn’t do myself. Thankfully I have always enjoyed my job and long may that last.”

The toughest challenge Chris has had to face was when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Determined to do something positive, she teamed up with her daughter, who also works for Southern Co-op in its Co-operative Food store in Mill Hill, Cowes, and raised money for Wessex Cancer Trust by having their heads shaved. 

She also set and achieved her own target of only having nine months off work and, due to her positive attitude, she shortened her phased return to get back with her Shanklin team.

Chris said: “I just wanted to get back into a routine. My guys here looked after me. I have my family at home but this is my work family. We all get on as a team. It’s just such a nice atmosphere.”

Since she has received the all-clear, she has also raised money with her team taking part in the Wessex Cancer Trust fun run.

“I think it’s your mental attitude that gets you through. Whilst it’s such a devastating blow, you have got to get past it. I have survived that so I can survive anything.”

Area manager, James Knott, said: “Chris has shared some stories about what it was like to work for Southern Co-op 30 years ago and it is safe to say she has experienced plenty of change! Thirty years’ service is an incredible achievement!

“Chris is a fantastic store manager, a leader of her team and a support to her community on the island. Her team love and respect her which helps considerably to deliver a fantastic experience for our customers within Shanklin.

“I look forward to working with her in the years to come, and I’ll be ready to present her 40 years’ service!”