Leamington retail heroes rescued stranded family

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Shopping centre security officers who came to the rescue of a stranded family have been named Leamington’s first-ever Retail Heroes.

Qamar Siddiqi and Hassanein Ahmed, who are part of the security team at the Royal Priors Shopping Centre, helped the family with an 11-week-old baby get back on the road after their car had broken down.

Their actions prompted the grateful family to extend their thanks to centre manager Gerry McManus who then nominated them for the Retail Hero of the Year, an award organised for the first time in the run-up to Christmas by BID Leamington.

Qamar and Hassanein came across the grandmother and her daughter, with her baby girl, in a distressed state after they were unable to start their car which had been parked at the shopping centre.

Qamar, supervisor of the security officer team, said: “They were stranded, cold and upset. We took them into a coffee shop in the centre so they could warm up whilst we jump-started the vehicle. I knew what they were going through so didn’t hesitate to help.

“Just a few weeks before, I was with my family and three young children when our car broke down. It was stressful because I had never been in that situation before and I didn’t know what to do but thankfully someone came to my aid to help get it started.”

Hassanein, one of seven security officers at the shopping centre, added: “The family were so relieved and couldn’t stop shaking our hands because they were so thankful that we were able to get them safely on their way.”

The pair, who have both been part of the security team for two years, said they were thrilled for their actions to be recognised. They were both presented with a gift voucher and a framed certificate.

Hassanein said: “As a team, we are always on hand to help people visiting the shopping centre so we didn’t think twice about coming to this family’s aid but it’s great to get this recognition and we’re both really proud.”

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said she had been delighted with the response to the award which was designed to recognise those working within the town centre’s retail sector.

She said: “The nominations that we received highlighted the fantastic people we have working in retail. The service that they provide on a daily basis is vital to Leamington Spa’s great reputation as a shopping destination.

“The award was to recognise those going above and beyond the call of duty and Qamar and Hassanein stood out for their kind-hearted actions.”