Reunion for staff who worked at a Bolton department store

Brett Dearden, Jean Dearden, Cathy Sumner, Nina Patel and Joanne Rushmore. <i>(Image: Brett Dearden)</i>
Brett Dearden, Jean Dearden, Cathy Sumner, Nina Patel and Joanne Rushmore. (Image: Brett Dearden)

Staff  who worked at the the former Debenhams store in Bolton are hosting a reunion.

Brett Dearden from Harwood used to work at the Debenhams department store in Bolton for many years alongside his own mum, Jean Dearden, who worked there until her retirement.

Many of their friends were made there and left either before or after the store officially closed in May 2021.

Brett has now organised a reunion for all past members of staff of any department, at The Venue on Churchgate, Bolton on April 22 with his mum Jean and brother Grant also having worked there.

Shutters come down for the last time on Debenhams Bolton

He said: “Sixty people have contacted us to say they are coming and there could be more because there were so many people working there over the years.

The Bolton News:
The Bolton News:

“I set up a Facebook page for everyone and we organised a dinner first.

“After the dinner, between myself and the other ladies including my mum, we said it would be nice to get everyone together and see old friends that we have not seen for many years.”

Debenhams announced it was moving online only in 2021.

After the lockdown restrictions were lifted in 2020, the store reopened to allow shoppers to bag a last bargain at the department store.

Brett and his mum Jean have many happy memories of working at the Bolton store.

Brett said: “It was a really nice place to be, all the staff were friendly and I enjoyed working there.

“It wasn’t the best job in the world, but it wasn’t the worst job in the world.

“I had a happy working experience there.”

Jean used to work at the Burton mills many years before Debenhams opened.

Brett said: “My mum worked there before it even started in a way, as she was at Burton Mills making suits.

The Bolton News:
The Bolton News:

“She started working for Debenhams in the early 90s, and there were so many members of staff then compared to before they shut and what we see now.

“Many friendships were made at the store and we have all kept in touch.

“But I am still really angry about the closing as I was there when they started the stripping back process, taking full-time staff to part-time.”