Pam postpones her retirement to keep Derbyshire community stocked with food and essentials during pandemic

A Retail Hero in Ripley has put her retirement plans on hold to keep supporting her colleagues on the frontline ensuring her community has food and essentials.

Pam Eley has just celebrated 20 years working for Central England Co-op at its Derby Road supermarket and was all set to enjoy a well-deserved retirement at the end of April.

However, the 65-year-old decided to postpone until later in the summer to continue to serve her community during these testing times and to help her colleagues as they continue to provide an outstanding service to customers and Members.

She said: “I was looking forward to retirement but when all this happened and we were absolutely flat out as food was going off the shelves as quick as we were putting it out, it didn’t feel right to leave and I wanted to keep helping out and doing my bit.

“We have had people come and go over the years, but we are a really close-knit team here and there are colleagues who have been working here even longer than me. It will be sad to leave so I don’t mind putting it off a bit.

“We have a lot of regular customers here so it’s nice to keep seeing them and helping them while I can. We have had quite a few people thank us for what we are doing which is nice and makes it all worthwhile.”

Pam, who lives in nearby Codnor, is married to Ray who said he understood Pam’s decision to put off her retirement and left the decision up to her.

Pam added: “We wanted to do some travelling and gardening when I retired but obviously with us being in lockdown that is all on hold so it makes sense for me to keep going as we couldn’t go far anyway!”

Central England Co-op Derby Road Store Manager Nathan Burrows paid tribute to Pam as the team presented her with some flowers for her 20 years of service.

He said: “I would like to thank Pam for her 20 years of service and her contribution over that time and her support now is really appreciated by us all.

“The fact she has postponed her retirement to support the team and the community is fantastic and shows the kind of colleague and character she is and shows true co-operative commitment in these challenging times.”

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community by visiting a dedicated online hub at


Notes to editors

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 serving our 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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