TRIBUTES have flooded in for a “kind-hearted and remarkable” Tesco boss who died after contracting Covid-19 following an outbreak at the store.
Teresa Gorman, 56, worked as a manager at a shop in Stretford, Greater Manchester, after a career spanning 14 years at the supermarket giant.
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She regularly organised charity events, raising £895 for the Tesco Health Charity back in 2019 – and was much-loved in her community.
Just a week before Christmas she posted a picture of her colleagues on Twitter announcing: “The team at Tesco Extra Stretford decided to donate to the foodbank instead of doing Secret Santa this year.”
But last week the supermarket giant revealed that a number of staff employed at the store were off work due to “self-isolation, test and trace or Covid-19”.
Some 50 staff working at the store are now ill or isolating, while the rest must test negative before they return to work.
Tesco also confirmed that a staff member had died, although the chain did not officially confirm a cause of death “out of respect for the employee's family”.
In a touching tribute, her friend and colleague Tia Marsden said today: “Kind hearted, caring, and a smile that can light up a room is just some of many traits this truly remarkable lady had.
“Not only was she your manager she was your Tesco Mum who always had you in line even when we caused havoc.
“Teresa would go out of her way to help anyone that she came across in any way that she could.
“Whether be a donation to a charity or just a gift to make your day.
“The thoughtfulness she put into everything is something I feel so honoured to have shared.
“I will never forget the memories and happy times together.
“Tesco Stretford will always and forever have that missing part to the puzzle.”
Friends and colleagues have also paid tribute to the "lovely lady".
One staff member said: "I personally knew this colleague who died, and she was a very lovely and selfless lady."
Megan Lunney posted: "The whole of Tesco Stretford is still in shock and it’s still very raw for us. It’s a very sad time for us all.
“We are all out here working with our own families at home- like many others are. We are all petrified, especially when this hits so close to home.
“Customers come in and tut at us or complain to us for being in the way when we are simply trying to help and provide supplies for everyone safely and efficiently. It’s such a surreal time and a lot of us are struggling.
“She was an amazing lady and did so much for charity as well as the store.”
Another colleague praised Teresa's dedication to following coronavirus protocol.
They said: "She was 1000% dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of staff and customers and went above and beyond during this whole pandemic.
"She will be missed by everyone and it was an absolute pleasure to know and work with her."
A fourth wrote: "It’s taken a few days as the shock still hasn’t settled in, but where do I start about this truly remarkable lady.
"Kind hearted, caring, a smile to brighten the room the list goes on and on with the amount of amazing traits she had.
"She has left the most massive hole in everyone’s hearts and that she touched so many.
"Many happy memories shared with you and what a manager you was! All my love forever, we shall meet again one day."
Her pal Terri Houlton, who was given the devastating news on Friday, said: “Such sad news to hear about Teresa Gorman this morning.
"A beautiful lady inside and out, always with a smile on her face. Earth has one less angel, and heaven one more. You will never be forgotten.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for a memorial outside of the store near the Old Trafford Stadium.
Over £1,000 has been collected towards erecting a memorial plague and leftover cash will be donated to her favourite charity.
The page reads: "With the news we have all heard about Teresa Gorman and with the original and new Tesco Stretford family spread so far and wide I thought it fitting to set up a go fund me page.
"She loved baking, flowers, sweet treats, Tesco and fundraising. But most important of all she loved people."
The store remains open despite the Covid outbreak.
Security staff are now separating family members as they enforce a strict one shopper rule at the store.
Tesco said “extensive measures” are in place across all their stores, including a limit on the number of customers in store and social distancing signs.
Another worker told The Sun: “It’s very tense in there and people are on edge.
“She was a manager so she came into contact with a lot of people.
“We have to go to the town hall to get a Covid test before we are allowed to work.
“People are frustrated at it all and that our work times have not changed. It’s not good.”
It comes amid a massive spike in infections in the Trafford area, up by 35 per cent in the week ending January 8.
Nationally, the rise was 12 per cent.
A spokesperson from the store said: "A number of colleagues at our Streford store are off work due to self-isolation, Test and Trace and Covid.
"The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority and we're following all Government guidance, working closely with public health authorities and taking all the relevant precautions.
"We have extensive measures across all of our stores to help keep everyone safe.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a colleague at our Stretford store and we're supporting our colleagues at this difficult time."
The tragedy in the Manchester branch came after two died following virus outbreaks at a Scottish Tesco.
Ann Weir and a male colleague at the Covid-hit Greenock Extra store died earlier this month.
It comes after Boris Johnson last week warned shoppers about the risk of picking up goods in supermarkets.
"Please remember that this disease can be passed on, not just by standing too near someone in a supermarket queue, but also by handling something touched by an infected person," he said during his national address.
"Remember also that one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms and that's why the original message of 'hands, face, space' is as important now as it has ever been."
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