Michelle Benton - Co-op Magic award winner

We’re sharing the amazing stories of our 12 winners of the first ever Co-op-wide Thank you for Being Co-op awards.

Michelle is a store manager at our Priorswood Place store in Taunton. Here’s her story.

“My regional manager rang me up to say I was a finalist and I didn’t even know I’d been nominated! He was so excited when he told me two weeks later I’d won. I just said: ‘But why?’ Helping people in the community is just what we do.”

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The Co-op Magic award is where our members nominate colleagues who’ve gone above and beyond. Out of nearly 1,000 nominations, Michelle won because of her tireless work in the local community.

But it was one act of kindness that really made Co-op member Kym Collins want her to be recognised.

“There’s a local 89-year old man called Ivor who’s a regular customer at the Co-op,” explains Kym. “He had this push bike which had no tyres on it and was literally just scooting around on the road.

“Michelle first raised money and bought him a new bike but one day he was shopping in here and fell off it outside. It was then that Michelle took it upon herself to do everything she could to buy him a mobility scooter.”

Using her initiative, Michelle used our Co-op Colleague Facebook channel to ask for help from other colleagues. Amazingly, a colleague who works at Dulverton Co-op (where Michelle lives) had a mobility scooter she wanted to get rid of.

So Michelle was able to buy the scooter using the funds she’d raised at a much cheaper price.

“When we went and gave Ivor his scooter he cried,” says Michelle.

“There wasn’t a dry eye. His wife turned to me and said: ‘You’ve restored our faith in humanity’.”

Ivor receiving his mobility scooter from Michelle

Now Ivor has a new lease of life. The mobility scooter means he can get out and buy the things he needs to care for his 93-year old wife.

Michelle is a special lady. For 17 years she’s devoted herself to the Co-op and the community. As well as working with local causes as part of the Local Community Fund, she’s raised money for the local youth club and school, and has recently become a Member Pioneer for Taunton.

“I couldn’t do what I do without the people I work with,” she says. “If these guys weren’t running the store, selling the raffle tickets.

“When you work for the Co-op you have the luxury of being able to ‘be yourself’ and ‘show you care’. I work with people who feel the same way.”

Co-op member Kym Collins with winner Michelle Benton

Co-op member Kym Collins with winner Michelle

What members said about Michelle

“Thanks for being a great part of the community and for making the community a better place.”

“This colleague does a lot of fundraising to help the local community.”

“She also recently has helped an elderly gentleman called Ivor who fell off his bicycle outside of the shop. She raised money to get him a mobility scooter. This enabled him to not only stay independent but also stay safer while out by himself.”