TO SAY people in and around Lees were looking forward to the opening of its new supermarket in an understatement.
Just one look at the queue as dozens of people waited in the pouring rain showed how eagerly it was anticipated.
Some arrived as early as 6am, Rachel Casey waited an hour after getting there at 7am.
Olympic silver medallist Josie Knight did the honours of cutting the ribbon at the new store, on the site of what was a Co-Operative.
She was ably assisted by pupils from nearby St Thomas Leesfield C of E Primary School as the clock ticked towards 8am on Thursday, October 26.
And as customers flooded in, it was clear store manager Mark McManus and his 30 staff would have a busy day on their hands.
Each of the children who helped with the opening ceremony received a big of fruit as a gift from Aldi, the first 30 people through the tills were handed bags of fruit and veg by Josie, who wore the medal she won as part of the cycling team pursuit quartet at Tokyo.
Josie will also deliver an inspirational virtual assembly for pupils at St Thomas Leesfield after the half term break as part of the supermarket’s initiative, Get Set to Eat Fresh – which has already inspired over two million school children aged 5-14 years to learn more about the benefits of cooking fresh, healthy food with their families.
And she said: “It was an honour to officially open the store and welcome customers inside for the first time.
“I am looking forward to speaking with the children at St Thomas Leesfield C of E Primary School about the importance of eating healthily and how it can be fun to plan and prepare meals as a family.
“Hopefully I will inspire the pupils to keep active and try different sports.”
Mark added: “It was lovely to welcome our new customers into store and I look forward to meeting more of the community in the coming weeks.
“I’m also thrilled that we are able to support St Thomas Leesfield C of E Primary School through our partnership with Team GB.”
Aldi took on the site, on Athens Way, and more than 1,900 square metres larger after it was granted panning permission by Oldham Council earlier this year.
In its proposal, the supermarket said: “The development will provide local residents with a much-needed ‘main’ food shopping destination to replace the Co-op and retain the existing benefits this store brings to the district centre and wider area.”
If the queue at the door before it even opened is anything to go by, Aldi’s arrival will prove a hit.