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QD boss talks of ‘heartbreak’ of closing stores and donates food to charity

PUBLISHED: 08:26 04 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:26 04 April 2020

QD in North Walsham makes a donation. Pic: submitted

QD in North Walsham makes a donation. Pic: submitted

The head of Norfolk discount store QD said he was “heart broken” at having to close over coronavirus – but said staff had donated food to local good causes.

QD. Pic: ArchantQD. Pic: Archant

QD group operations director, Karl Ottolangui, who decided to close all the stores including Lathams of Potter Heigham and Cherry Lane garden centres, with outlets across the county, said it had been ‘a very emotional time’ for staff.

But he said they had been buoyed up by donating huge amounts of food, pet food and plants to local causes.

The stores have distributed items to food banks, community groups, charities, care homes and the emergency services, with each individual store team choosing their local recipients.

Lathams of Potter Heigham donate items. Pic: submittedLathams of Potter Heigham donate items. Pic: submitted

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In Yarmouth, staff chose the Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Allotments Association, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which has distributed to a number of local charities and Gorleston Food Bank.

In King’s Lynn, staff donated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Dereham, to the Thomas Bullock Primary Academy and Dereham Church Junior School, PACT animal charity, the Trussel Trust Food Bank and all three emergency services. The North Walsham QD team chose the local community food bank and in Diss, the Waveney Food Bank and in Norwich, Action for Children.

Whilst the stores are closed, the QD Group will continue to provide customers’ favourite products online and deliver them safely to their door.

Karl Ottolangui, operations director, QD. Pic: QDKarl Ottolangui, operations director, QD. Pic: QD

Mr Ottolangui said: “It has been heart-breaking to close our doors and the last few weeks have been really tough for all our teams, trying to serve their local communities with essential products. It has been a very emotional time for staff in all our stores and garden centres.

“They have all been absolutely amazing and have all worked tirelessly to donate whatever we can to those in need. The whole exercise has gone incredibly well. The store teams are absolutely exhausted, but it has given us some happiness that we were able do some good for our local communities in this very difficult time, on our final day until we can reopen.”

QD has stores in Norwich, Cromer, North Walsham, Dereham, King’s Lynn, Gorleston and Yarmouth.

Group chief executive Nick Rubins recently said: “We would like to thank our amazing staff who have done an incredible job in providing our communities with the products they needed, when they needed them most.

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