A POPULAR shopworker who spent 30 years working on the tills at a Nepwort supermarket is still being remembered, almost four years after her death.

Sally Collins was 69 when she died after a short battle with cancer on July 19, 2018. It hit her family, friends and colleagues hard, and they wanted to do something to honour her.

South Wales Argus:

“It sounds cliché, but Sal was incredible,” said John Johnson, a delivery driver for Iceland who worked with Mrs Collins for six years. “I only knew her for six years and other people here knew her for much longer as she'd worked here for 30 years, but everyone loved her.

“She told us she had cancer and we were shocked,” he remembers. “And then I remember walking into the store on the day she died, saying Hi to people and bantering like normal but everyone was so down, it was horrible.

“I asked what was wrong and was told ‘she’s gone.’ It was so sudden. I can’t remember exactly how long it was after she told us about the cancer before her death, but it felt extremely quick.”

After Mrs Collins died a photo of her and a book of condolence was put on till six - the till she worked on - at the store in Commercial Street, Newport. Following her death, the till remained unused until it was one of the ones taken out to be replaced by the self-service checkouts.

The staff room was renamed in her honour, but the staff wanted to do more to honour their ‘charity champion.’

South Wales Argus:

“Sal was great," said Mr Johnson. "She loved charity and was always really good at raising money during our charity weeks. She would wear our ‘charity champion’ sash because of that.

“We wanted to do something more for her than just name the staff room after her. I approached head office about having the bonnet of one of the vans dedicated to her. People told me they wouldn’t let us because it’s a commercial van but when I asked, they said yes.


“It was the first in the country for Iceland – I’m not sure about any other companies – to do such a thing. Since we did it on October 10, 2018, there’s been at least two more Iceland vans dedicated to employees.

South Wales Argus:

“I mainly drive the van and I love it. People stop and comment how nice it is. I went to do a delivery one day and the customer started talking about how much she missed Sal and I showed her the van and she started to cry.”

Mr Johnson was stopped earlier this month to talk about the van and the story behind it and it was received very well on social media and has brought more attention to the unusual tribute.

He said how Mrs Collins would get along with everybody and he clicked with her over twins – with her having twin daughters Debbie and Sarah and him being a twin himself.

“When I first started at Iceland, I was doing a delivery to Sal, and I didn’t know she worked for the company at the time," he said.

“I couldn’t find her house because of the layout of the street so called and she said to turn around as she was behind me. I saw a Manchester United plaque and asked who was a Man Utd fan and she told me her husband but he had died a while ago. I felt really awkward.

“And then in the staff room a few days later we were talking and just clicked. We bonded over the twin stuff. She used to ask me if me and my brother kept having to think of a colour and comparing it as she would do that with her daughters.”

South Wales Argus:

The store still marks Mrs Collins’ birthday and the anniversary of her death by wearing red or doing non-uniform events. The van is also not in use on her birthday and is instead parked up and decorated with flowers.