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Bexleyheath store worker rewarded for two decades of dedication with trip to America

PUBLISHED: 18:00 30 July 2014

Bebe Nelson. Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Bebe Nelson. Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

After 25 years of hard work, a dedicated store worker has been rewarded with the trip of a lifetime to visit her long lost family on the other side of the Atlantic.

58-year-old Bebe Nelson, of Bexleyheath, has been granted 16 weeks paid leave from her job in the fashion accessories department at high street retail giant Bhs.

She will spend the time catching up with her six brothers and three sisters who live in various different states across America.

The family were born and raised in Guyana on the northern coast of South America.

Bebe said: “It’s a very big family and, apart from myself and my older sister Fatima who both live in England, everyone else is in America, so that’s where I decided to use the time off to visit.

“Although I did meet up with a few of them when we attended my late mother’s funeral in Florida in 2012, I haven’t seen most of them for many years and this is my big opportunity.

“I’m planning to fly out to the States next month and we’ve then arranged a couple of big family reunions.

“Quite a number of my brothers and sisters live in and around New York, so that’s where we’ll have the first gathering.

“It will be great to be together with my older sister Baby, who is 60, and my younger sister Rita who is in her mid-fifties.

“At the same reunion I’ll also be meeting with my two older brothers who are based in New York. They are Wajid and Sham, who are both in their mid-sixties. Also there will be my 65-year-old brother Eddie who lives in Pennsylvania, which means he doesn’t have to travel far to New York.”

Bebe, who has a son David, 28, and daughter Marie, 29, added: “After the big reunion in New York I’m looking forward to another family get-together down south in Florida about a week later.

“That’s where I’m going to meet up with my eldest brother Salim, who is in his late sixties, and my youngest brother Hossein, who is in his mid-fifties.

“Hossein has something really fantastic planned as last July he was lucky enough to win one million dollars on a scratchcard and he’s using some of the money to pay for us to go on a cruise.

“From Florida we’ll be sailing down to Mexico and then to Jamaica and we’ll also be visiting some other islands in the Caribbean.

“That’s going to be something really special but I’m very much looking forward to all my time in the States and seeing all my brothers and sisters again.”

Bebe originally joined Bhs as a sales associate at its Surrey Quays store in 1989, and now works in the Broadway Shopping Centre where she specialises in ladies’ accessories including shoes and handbags.

She said: “I’m very grateful to Bhs, where I have loved working for all these years, for being so generous as to allow me to have the 16 week sabbatical.”

Bebe’s boss, Bhs Manager Sophie Cassat, said: “Bebe is a valuable member our team. We are all very excited for her and can’t wait to hear all about her travels upon her return.”

Peter Sedge, Broadway Shopping Centre Manager, said: “It has been lovely to hear about the trip which Bebe has planned. A real heart-warming and positive tale for us to share and I wish Bebe lots of best wishes with her visit and we look forward to hearing all about it when she returns.”

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