A bit of magic came to a Horsham store at the weekend as staff dressed up to remember a former colleague with a ‘heart of gold’.
The Homebase store, in Broadbridge Heath Retail Park, held a special Disney- themed fancy dress and cake sale over the weekend for their colleague Jess Houghton.
The 24-year-old died suddenly on Christmas Day and staff from multiple stores across the South came together to raise money in her memory.
Store co-ordinator Kash Riadat said: “We just want to show how much she all meant to us and that as an area we are one big family.
“Anyone who met her just adored her, she had a lot of love from the area.”
The Horsham store was one of 11, from Canterbury to Hove, to hold a fundraiser for Jess at the weekend.
Kash explained they chose the theme as she loved dressing up and could always be heard singing Disney songs everywhere she went.
“There wasn’t a song she didn’t know the lyrics to,” he said. “The whole team got involved and came in on their days off all dressed up.”
Around 40 members of staff joined the fun, dressed as a range of characters from Captain Hook to princesses and unicorns.
Kash added: “One of our team is a part time entertainer and he did magic tricks for the kids. It went really well.”
Jess overcame a rare form of cancer when she was a toddler and the weekend was raising funds for the The Royal Marsden Hospital which helped save her life.
Friend and colleague Becky Walker said: “If Jess had to choose one thing to do it would involve Disney, cakes, dressing up and music. It was the perfect way.
“She was one in a million. She was so compassionate and she was selfless, no-one will ever match up to her. She was a sassy little woman with a heart of gold.”
Her family visited staff over the weekend and were overwhelmed with the support.
“I think they were just taken aback by how far we had all gone,” Kash said. “Everybody has been shocked by the amount of support that has been shown.”
Her family have set up a Justgiving page to raise even more money for the Royal Marsden Hospital.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emma-lee31