Staff at M&S Shoreham have today celebrated the store’s 25th anniversary.
Sadie Marks, who had opened the store at the new Holmbush Shopping Centre in 1992, returned to cut the anniversary cake exactly 25 years later.
Sadie, from Steyning, is no relation to the founding family. She was asked to carry out the original ceremony because she was a long-standing shareholder from Hove and it was her 66th birthday.
She said: “Apart from getting married, that day was the highlight of my life.”
Store manager Steve James presented her with a Paddington-themed hamper to celebrate her 91st birthday and thank her for returning for the anniversary.
Joining them for the occasion were the 30 members of M&S Shoreham staff who have been with the company for more than 25 years.
Mr James said: “It is definitely more than a store, it is definitely part of the community.
“If you look at what we have done over the years, we have supported something in the region of 25 local charities and 75 national charities. We have raised something in the region of £½million just from this store for charities, which is just amazing.
“We haven’t just raised money, though. In recent histories, we have gone to clean beaches, we have given a garden to a foodbank and I have stories that we have also put a playground down on one of the local schools in the area.”
Over the years, the store has employed 9,625 full-time members of staff and more than 3,000 Christmas temps.
Sadie, who is still a regular customer, said: “This store is the best and the customers that come here love it.
“It’s lovely for parking, lovely for staff when you come in, they are all so helpful, and I think it is great to have this lovely anniversary.”
Sadie said it was at a shareholders’ meeting in London that she was invited by chairman Sir Richard Greenbury to open the store, because he discovered it would be on her birthday.
She was accompanied by her husband Derrick Marks, a chartered surveyor working on large developments, on the first occasion but he has since died, so for the anniversary, she took along her daughter Trudy, another regular customer at the store.