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Gran, 93, will fight to keep M&S in New Road, Gravesend open

A 93-year-old grandmother is on a one woman crusade to keep her favourite shop open.

Vera Purll, of St Benedicts Avenue, Gravesend, has been shopping at Marks and Spencer in New Road, all her life.

When she found out bosses proposed to close it down, she decided to take a stand and started her own petition to keep it open.

Despite walking with a stick, she went to the store on Saturday and urged shoppers to sign in protest.

Vera Purll, 93, outside Marks & Spencer, New Road, Gravesend

She stood inside the branch but was asked to leave by a member of staff.

By then, she had already gathered more than 100 names.

She turned up at the Gravesend Messenger office on Monday armed with pages of signatures to add to our petition.

She said: “It’s heartbreaking, when you’ve been born and bred in the town.

“But what’s the point in standing back and doing nothing?”

She has continued to gather more names and met Messenger staff outside her favourite branch of M&S on Tuesday with another page.

She said: “I’m in here every week. We will all miss it because there is a crowd of us that make a point of coming in here and they [Marks and Spencer] know that damn well.

“I walk with a stick and can’t have a basket and things like that. The staff are wonderful and very obliging.”

Ms Purll has been going to Marks and Spencer since 1930 and was introduced to it by her mother.

She said: “I worked out that my mum has been dead 55 years but we always came to Marks and Spencer.

“When I think of the first Marks and Spencer in this town, there was a chemist out the front right up to where the door is.”

The mother and grandmother of one goes to M&S for her food shopping and said her family were right behind her campaign.

She said:“My son rang me last night and he said ‘Mum I’m very, very proud of you’.

“I said I’m not sure it will do anything for anyone else but it is important to everybody. I don’t care what they say, Marks and Spencer is important.

“If this goes it’s a ghost town, like other towns. This is the only one between Bluewater and Hempstead Valley.

“I spoke to a member of staff and I said to her ‘I’ve got a petition’ and she got hold of me and said ‘thank you so much’.”

It is a loss the Messenger does not want to accept without a fight.

We are campaigning to keep M&S open and have created a petition that we urge you to sign.

You can sign the petition at our offices at 7 High Street, Gravesend (we're open weekdays, 9am-5pm) or click on this link http://chn.ge/1kJT4O8 and it will take you straight through to the online version.

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