Co-op closure: 'The store came to life at Christmas'
FOR Paul Chadwick, the time that the Co-op's Derby department store really came to life was at Christmas.
As display manager at the Exchange Street store between 1991 and 1998, he was responsible for the stunning Christmas lights display that would adorn the exterior of the art deco-style building.
Mr Chadwick, 74, of Empress Road, Derby said: "I remember putting together an image of what the store would look like all lit up and sent it to head office in Lichfield.
"They then gave me permission to go ahead and do it.
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"It was made up of thousands of lights and looked pretty good. It then became an annual fixture.
"Every summer we went through all the lights checking to see if they all worked properly, in readiness for them going up for Christmas.
"Even today, some of the wires are still up on the side of the building, which we used to hang the lights on."
Mr Chadwick was also responsible for the Santa's grotto and "magical rides", which were in-store.
He said: "They were very popular – and raised a lot of money for the children's hospital in Derby."
He left the Derby store in 1998 to work at the Co-op's Ilkeston premises.
Mr Chadwick, who retired in 2004, said: "When I was working at Ilkeston I often thought what might happen to the town if the Co-op went.
"It's very sad that the store will close there – and Derby, for that matter. I still have friends that work at both places.
"Both are very large stores and I hope they will not be empty for too long."