Co-op retail hero recognised for going above and beyond for her community immortalised in painting

Posted by rob smyth | Published: 14/08/2020

A Co-op retail hero from Yorkshire has seen her efforts to go above and beyond for the community during the pandemic immortalised forever in the form of a painting.

Customer Services Assistant Paula Parkyn is now the proud owner of a stunning portrait after winning the chance to be painted after her name was plucked out of a hat at Shepley Food Store, in Station Road, after her and all of her colleagues were all offered the chance to be part of the unique opportunity.

The piece of artwork was created by local Shepley artist Nigel Proud who during lockdown has been creating artworks of local heroes who have been working hard for others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paula said: “I am absolutely over the moon with the picture and really I am so pleased with it.

“I cannot thank Nigel enough for recognising the hard work that everyone at Central England Co-op has been putting in during these uncertain times and the other amazing frontline workers.

“This is a great example of community spirit and I was thrilled to form a small part of it.”

Other stunning images in the collection by Nigel include various people in the NHS ranging from doctors and nurses.

Team leader Paul Van Leeuwen said Paula and the entire team were ‘proud’ to have been recognised for their efforts to support the community during lockdown.

He said: “All throughout the pandemic colleagues have been going above and beyond to make sure that customers have access to all their vital food and essentials.

“The idea behind the painting was such a lovely gesture from Nigel and I know Paula and the team were very proud to have been picked to be part of this effort to recognise heroes who helped their communities during these uncertain times.”


Notes to editors


Picture caption: The painting of Paula Parkyn by local artist Nigel Proud.


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.


Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 


Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.


We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.


Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood



Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


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