MARKS & Spencer Chester store welcomed a special visitor to the store this week.
Two-year-old EastEnders’ star Grace who plays Billy and Honey Mitchell’s daughter Janet in the TV soap, was at the Foregate store to receive a cheque for £30,000 on behalf of the Down’s Syndrome Association.
Staff at the store, including Grace’s aunt, section manager Kate Aspey, raised the total through a series of fundraising activities including fashion shows, sponsored walks, barbecues, raffles and car boot sales.
The staff managed to raise £27,000 in less than 10 months which was boosted by a £3,000 donation from Marks & Spencer.
Staff also raised a further £4,441 for Dee Banks School in Chester, to help create a sensory room for pupils with severe learning difficulties.
Jean Turner, charity co-ordinator at Marks & Spencer Chester store, said: “We were inspired to raise money for the Down’s Syndrome Association after Kate told us about her niece Grace and the fantastic work that the charity does.
“It has been a very challenging and exciting year of fundraising and our customers have given us fantastic support, enabling us to smash our target.
“Everyone at the store has worked incredibly hard and approached the fundraising with enthusiasm.
“We are delighted that Grace is here today to accept the cheques on behalf of both the Down’s Syndrome Association and Dee Banks School. They are both such worthy causes and close to the hearts of the staff here at Chester.”
Patricia James, of the Down’s Syndrome Association, said: “The partnership with M&S Chester has been an education in committed support and fundraising with a target of raising £20,000. All employees, including retired staff, displayed pure grit and proved that the thriving human spirit is alive and well.
“The final total smashed through the target and an outstanding £30,000 was raised that will directly benefit people with Down’s syndrome and their families in Chester and extended into the wider community.”