Our picture above shows front row standing L-R: Lisa B., Burim M., Rachel C.,Jane T., Joy E., Michelle S., Michael M.(Store Manager), Louise S.,Molly S.
Back Row L- R: Shannon M., Anita B., Gary M., Irene R., Joanne B., Tracy P., Rachel N., Juliette H., Angie F., Rachel C., Maria H., Deena W. Kneeling in front left: Leanne R., Right: Sue B.
On Thursday 28th September, Syston gave a sad farewell to a much loved store that has been in Syston since the 1930s.
Your editor was invited to go and record this very sad closure of a store that many in Syston have used all their lives. Many of the staff in the photograph above and the following people who unfortunately couldn’t be there, have worked most of their adult lives in this store or across the Wilkinson group. Those missing include Amy G., Kelly M., Sharon P., Chris R., Di W., George B., Mahlee B., James F., Alison R., Rebecca B.
23 out of the staff named and pictured above had more than 10 years service, the longest serving one had 41years.
Wilko’s had a very low turn over of staff which reflected the founder’s ethos of hard working and giving customers quality products at affordable prices.
The history of Wilkinson’s was on display in the store in its final days and was a great record of the growth of the business from one shop in Charnwood Street to over 400 across the country.
On behalf of everyone in Syston we would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff who have worked in the Syston store since it opened in 1939.
We are going to miss this wonderful store and we wish you all the very best in the future and hope you all find employment soon.
Syston’s Melton Road will not be same without Wilko’s and their wonderful staff.
There follows below, a poem written by Amy Glover, pictured below, as she was unavailable for the picture above, with Store Manager Michael Marshall and Burim Malku who made up the management team at Syston.
Wilko to me by Lisa Biddles.
Wilko is where I have worked for the last 21 years and two days. It’s also where I intended to stay working until I retire, though I am only 55. It’s not just a shop or place of work, it’s a place where you meet lots of people and have an extended family that are there for you through thick and thin.
Some I have known for many years, and some for not so long.
We are not just losing a shop, we are losing our routine, livelihoods, our friends and family and over the years we have had some brilliant customers, some that are regular, I will really miss. Just never thought it would come to this.
I wish all of our Wilko staff good luck. It’s been a real pleasure working with you, wishing you all the luck for the future.
A Poem written by Amy Glover
Wilko Syston, what can we say,
We can’t believe these will be our last day’s
We had nearly reached 100 years old,
Sorry, you won’t make it we were told.
The years of service amongst us all,
Together, we will help each other stand tall.
The walls in this place have seen a lot,
And we’ve all felt at some point like we’ve lost the plot.
Mr Wilkinson I hope we’ve done you proud,
This dysfunctional family, we are quite loud.
This store we hold so close to our hearts,
The last few weeks we’ve fallen apart.
The loyalty from customers we value so dear,
Sorry that we will no longer be here
So Syston team it’s nearly time for a little rest,
Because we are and always will be ‘simply the best’
And as we close our doors, we’d like to say,
Thank you all, we wish we could stay ?
For those new to Syston, the link with Syston was recorded in the Local History Group’s Syston Past Vol III. See the image left, which has been used in many articles and some have assumed it was a picture of Charnwood Street shop. In fact it was the shop in Syston taken in the 1950s, this had been the third shop to be opened in 1939, just before WWII.
In that personal account made by a resident named Alan Dawson he recalls that his father, shown in the picture above, had worked for the founder of the business Mr James Kemsey Wilkinson when he opened his shop here in Syston. He also recalled going with his father to help plant Willow Trees in front of the house on Fosseway Syston after Mr and Mrs Wilkinson moved into their new home. The trees were to give some privacy.
The picture right shows the shop in the 1960’s prior to redevelopment.
Thank you to Syston Local History Group for allowing us to use these images and using an extract from Syston Past III.