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Election 2010: Gordon Brown in Weymouth

Gordon and Sarah Brown meet shoppers at Asda

Gordon and Sarah Brown meet shoppers at Asda

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

THE Labour Party brought out their biggest gun in the fight for South Dorset yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Prime Minister was on a whistle-stop tour of Dorset, which saw him visit Bournemouth and Weymouth.

He started his visit with a trip to the Asda superstore in Newstead Road.

Workers at the store as well as local shoppers were on hand to greet Mr Brown and his wife Sarah as they did their bit to support sitting MP Jim Knight’s re-election campaign.

Most people seemed very shocked to see him.

Employee Carole Toplay said that there had been a good atmosphere around the store.

She said: “There’s a lot of buzz around today. It was really good.”

Asda worker Richard Desmond was part of the welcome committee of workers and shoppers who greeted the PM.

He said: “I was the first person to shake his hand. It’s nice to meet someone so famous.”

Colleague Ron Samways said: “It was nice of him to come down here.

He added: “Most voters are still undecided. The more they watch the TV, the more confused they are. It will be tight whichever way it goes.”

Mr Brown took a walk around the store, meeting workers from all sections.

Shopper Janet Kilbourne, of Quibo Lane, Weymouth said: “We were just doing our shopping. I think it’s great to meet him. I really like him and his wife. It’s amazing and I’m personally very happy to meet him.”

Shoppers and workers had their camera phones out to capture the rare glimpse into politics and many were using social networking sites to publicise the visit.

One lady was overheard to say: “I can’t wait to get home and put this on my Facebook status.”

Fellow shopper Peter Reynolds, of Weymouth, said: “It was good to meet him. I trust him more than I trust the other two. He gets a bit of a rough ride, but I’m sure he can take it.”

The Prime Minister then went on to give a speech to Asda workers in the store’s warehouse, where workers were given the chance to quiz the PM on the issues that most mattered to them. He congratulated workers on being the top-selling Asda branch in the UK. The store sells more goods per square foot than any other store.

The PM then took questions from Asda workers on child tax credits, petrol prices and the security of university places.

But it wasn’t all serious politics.

Shop worker Kim Llewellyn asked Mr Brown what was the strangest thing he had done to raise money for charity and Mr Brown said he had done a run for Sport Relief, but admitted: “I am not as fit as I should be.”

The PM then asked what the staff had done to raise money and one person said they had sat in a bath of jelly.

MP Jim Knight said that on one occasion staff had convinced him to dress up as a wizard and join them on a sponsored run on a treadmill at the front of the store.

On meeting Mr Brown, Mrs Llewellyn said: “It’s nice to think that someone so high up makes the time to come to our store.”

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