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Newbury retailer celebrates 90 years

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Surprise message from the Queen read to Camp Hopson staff at birthday celebrations

NEWBURY's award-winning retail store Camp Hopson this week celebrated 90 years of trading with a special staff party on Tuesday evening, and received a surprise message from the Queen.

Chief executive of the furniture and department store Jonathon Hopson told assembled staff: “I think we're looking great for 90!”

He then read the message from the Queen, sent specially for the store's 90th anniversary, which congratulated all staff on the store's great achievement.

Camp Hopson first opened its doors in 1921 and Mr Hopson said both the business and its customers have changed a great deal in that time: “I think customers are more discerning than they used to be and you have to work harder to differentiate yourself from the competition.”

He also spoke of exciting changes coming, both to Camp Hopson and to Newbury: “We are launching a new beauty room at the end of October and our website is set for a major makeover. We are always looking at how we can improve our level of customer service.”

The independent retailer won the Drapers Awards 2009 for Britain's Best Independent Department Store and also won Housewares Retailer Awards 2009/10 also for Britain's Best Independent Department Store.

Mr Hopson said he looked forward to the opening of the new Parkway retail development on his doorstep: “There is no question about it, this will put Newbury on the map. It puts Newbury in the top 75 retail destinations in the country.”

During the celebrations on Tuesday, two of Camp Hopson's security guards also received a local police area commander commendation for helping to apprehend a man on drugs charges.

In February the security guards, Chris Rose and Richard Smith, spotted a man acting suspiciously near the store and followed him to Victoria Park where he buried a bag.

One of them then went to alert the police and the other stayed with the bag, which was found to contain heroine, Diazepam tablets and cannabis worth £2,000.

The suspect was later apprehended and eventually sentenced to three years in prison.

Chief Insp Lindsey Finch said: “If these two security officers had not acted on their suspicions we may not have not have known about this incident. They did everything right and their actions lead to a persistent offender being jailed for three years for supplying illegal drugs.”

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