New Crown Decorating Centre in St Helens supporting Standing Tall Foundation
For Afghan war veteran and triple amputee Andy Reid, cutting the ribbon at the opening of St Helens’ new Crown Decorating Centre store was another small step toward further improving the experience his facility offers the ex-service people his Standing Tall Foundation helps.
Explaining why he was so keen to officially open his home town’s new store on Saturday he said: “When I came round in hospital everything was white.
"The walls, the sheets, the uniforms – everything. It was a cold and sterile place to wake up to - and have to deal with what my life looked like. The walls of our therapy rooms at the Foundation are white. We can do better.”
Andy, who lost both legs and an arm after standing on an IED said: “I know, because I’ve been through it, that when I am in an all-white environment for a treatment, it takes me straight back to that first moment, post-event, first awakening in hospital. I want to make sure I avoid that, and if I find it more comfortable, perhaps others will too.
“I want the Foundation to be somewhere where everyone feels welcomed, secure and relaxed.
“Crown Decorating Centre in St Helens has pledged paint, wallpaper and the tools of the trade for the Foundation at its current centre, and for the new, purpose-built one which will go into construction further down the line, thanks to support from the English City Fund which has pledged a regeneration fund for the town.
"The team at the store were so on board with this, I can’t thank them enough.”
UK Crown Decorating Centres Network Director Naiem Wafa said: “One of our proudest achievements as a team. We are delighted with the response from our customers in our new St Helens store.
"It’s the first of a new concept developed with our partners at Creative Race. Congratulations to Rich Cartlidge our store manager and Ant Gillett our regional manager and the entire team for a fabulous first day.
"For our customers – we have designed a new store completely around making paint personal to them and their well-being, with the best Crown Paints available.”
Andy went on: “It’s a fantastic service-focused store, it is investing, it has pledged to do something to give back and it has created jobs at Ravenhead Retail Park for the town.”
Crown’s new concept store – St Helens is the first ever – offers trade and DIY-ers a huge range of paint and wallpapers, all the tools of the trade and, most importantly, skilled help and advice. The team can also match any colour with paint mixed on site.
As Andy sat in Crown’s concept store’s breakout area, conceived to allow customers to muse over inspirations and plan their own colour schemes, he set-to signing copies of his Standing Tall book for staff and shoppers.
He went on to reveal that he has started training for his assault on Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 m above sea level, which has been pushed back to October 2022 because of the pandemic.
Andy will be part of a 40-strong team which will include Standing Tall Foundation supporters and, most importantly, his physio Clare Weeks who saw him through his rehabilitation and taught him how to walk again and Victoria Shandler.
He says: “Victoria makes my legs – so she’ll have all the spare parts and tools I need to keep me going.”
In addition, Andy will be in the company of his sister, Emma Burnip, and fellow veteran, Gary Metcalf, 59, an able-bodied ex-forces colleague who saw service in the Kings Regiment in the 80s.
Crown Decorating Centre store manager Rich Cartlidge said: “Andy is a fantastic ambassador for the town and it was a privilege to spend time with him.
"We look forward to helping him achieve his vision for positive environments for his treatment rooms – and throughout the Foundation’s new centre.’
St Helens Crown Decorating Centre, Ravenhead Retail Park, opens
8am – 6pm Monday – Friday,
8am – 4pm Saturday,
10am – 4pm Sunday.