Heartbroken staff and customers at Tesco Hardengreen have quickly raised thousands of pounds in memory of their beloved ‘Cardboard King’.
Grocery department worker Peter Brownlee passed away on April 3, aged 51, after suffering a heart attack two days earlier.
Peter had been with the company since 1988, starting as a trolley attendant at what was then William Low in Dalkeith, before moving to the Tesco Hardengreen store when it opened in 2000.
Staff and customers there raised £830 in an hour and a half of starting the appeal last Thursday, reaching around £7,000 by Tuesday when the Advertiser went to press.
Tesco Hardengreeen customer experience manager Melissa Rae said of Peter’s death: “It was so unexpected, we are completely in shock. It has been quite tough, there are a lot of people here affected by his death, it’s so sad.
“He had been here for years and he made it his job to know everybody, he would talk to all the new members of staff, make them feel welcome here.
“His favourite job was getting all the cardboard off the shelf for the customers, what we call a ‘rumble’.
“So, he was our Cardboard King, and a very proud Cardboard King too.
“I don’t think their was a customer that Peter didn’t speak to, he was always asking if they were ok and needed any help, and he would get to know customers and their families.
“He was always interested in people and just wanted to be everybody’s friend.”
Melissa revealed what the staff hope to do with the money raised for Peter, who was a big football fan and a member of Newtongrange Silver Band, she said: “We are just trying to help out as we want him to have the best possible send-off, and a memorial here at the store to celebrate his life as he was such a big character.
“We are all keen to help, certainly the customers are donating in a big way.
“We are hoping that we can get a nice bench or plaque at the store and maybe support some of Peter’s favourite things like football or the brass band he was in.
“We had initially put £1,000 as our target but we flew past that very quickly. It’s just fantastic the support we have had from everyone.”
To join in the fundraising in Peter’s memory you can donate online, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/peter-brownlee.
Alternatively you can contribute to the fund in memory of Peter at Tesco Hardengreen with collection buckets on display in-store.
Peter’s funeral will take place at Newbattle Church on Thursday, April 20, at 11am.