A former model from Singapore has been honoured for 30 years of service at a Banbury store.
Mercedes Ellis has worked at the shop in Chatsworth Drive under various owners, including The Co-operative for the past 25 years.
Remarkably Mrs Ellis, now a great grandmother, is still working two full days each week despite having reached the grand old age of 80.
Last Wednesday, the energetic pensioner was presented with a special long service certificate and gift vouchers by Co-op managers.
Afterwards she told the Banbury Guardian she has no intention of retiring any time soon:
“I didn’t expect the award but I was very proud of it,” she said. “People are all so nice to me and all the people know me.
“We have a post office and all the old ladies come in and say to me ‘we don’t want you to go’.
“I’ve known children come in who are now coming in with their own children.
“I can stand all day so I am happy to work for as long as I can. All the managers say ‘it is nice working with you’ and are happy with me.”
Mrs Ellis said the secret to feeling young is all in the mind. “I don’t feel like 80. If I think I am 80, I will be,” she said.
Mrs Ellis met her husband Len, 79, who is from Banbury, when he was posted to Singapore with the RAF. During the 1950s she was working in the country as a model.
The couple married in 1959 in the Far East.
They settled in Banbury in the 1970s and now live in Whimbrel Way. Mr Ellis said: “She’s quite content being there [Co-op].
“She meets so many people and people are always stopping her in the street and saying hello. I think it’s great, it keeps her active.
“She’s more like a 50-year-old than an 80-year-old.
The couple have four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.