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Swindon store manager has afternoon tea with Sir Richard Branson

The manager of Virgin Money’s Swindon store, Helen Forster, took tea on Sunday with one of the most famous and recognisable men on the planet, when she had afternoon tea with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

Helen was invited to Sir Richard’s Oxford residence after she won Virgin Money’s EBO Stars Award. Nominated by colleagues, the awards recognise Virgin Money staff who demonstrate excellence in the Virgin Money vision of Everyone's Better Off (EBO).

Helen was nominated for consistently supporting her colleagues both in Swindon and across other Stores, and for going above and beyond what might be expected. An example highlighted in the nomination was when she assisted a disabled gentleman whose disability scooter had broken down outside the store. The customer was taken inside the store and given a cup of tea while Helen made arrangements for him to get home safely. She also made sure that the gentleman’s scooter was returned via a breakdown truck.

Helen, who is manager of the newly refurbished Virgin Money Store on Regent Circus in Swindon, was presented with her award by Virgin Money Chief Executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia. The Store was previously a Northern Rock branch and has been transformed into a Virgin Money Store following the acquisition of Northern Rock by Virgin Money in January 2012.

Helen was also chosen to attend the prestigious Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica. The centre which acts as a hub for aspiring entrepreneurs supports the development of small and growing businesses and job creation in the Caribbean with an emphasis on tourism-related businesses with strong financial, social and environmental credentials. Helen will work at the centre for a week sharing her knowledge which brought her the recognition in the first place.

Helen Forster said: “It’s a real honour to win this award, and meeting Sir Richard was the icing on the cake. I was a little nervous beforehand, but actually I had a great time and he really made me feel at ease. I got to meet other winners from across Virgin and then to be chosen to attend the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica was a huge surprise. It was a day that I will never forget.”

Stuart Miller, Head of Stores at Virgin Money commented: "We are very lucky to have Helen at Virgin Money. She consistently shows the drive and passion needed to deliver our ambition at Virgin Money, which is to provide fantastic service to our customers."

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About Virgin Money

  • Following the acquisition of Northern Rock in January 2012, Virgin Money provides credit cards, mortgages, savings, pensions, investment and protection products to over four million customers
  • Virgin Money’s business ambition is to make “everyone better off” – this philosophy underpins our approach to business by offering good value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive contribution to society and delivering a profit to shareholders
  • Virgin is the official sponsor of the London Marathon, the biggest annual fundraising event in the world. Virgin Money leads the London Marathon sponsorship with the ambition to help runners raise £¼ billion over 5 years and will use its infrastructure, online capability and financial expertise to deliver that through Virgin Money Giving