SUPERMARKET staff are showing a trolley load of support for their former colleague, Jahmene Douglas, this week.
The 21-year-old X Factor finalist, who, until July was working in the chilled department of Asda Walmart, is being closely followed by hundreds of workers and customers at the store.
The shy vocalist, who won Swindon Talent in 2010, will be making his first appearance in the live shows on Saturday and staff at the store will be supporting him by wearing specially made T-shirts.
Fresh manager at the store Stewart Fleming said: “Everybody is talking about him. We have had quite a few phone calls from the public asking if we can pass on messages to him.
“We had one lady phone up and say she just wanted us to tell him that he is superb and he will do Swindon proud. That’s the general feeling. When his first audition was shown we had people coming in looking for him.”
Before he left, Jahmene had told colleagues at the store that he had auditioned but would not reveal whether he had made it through to the finals.
“When he first went on and we saw him on the first night I had goosebumps. He was better than I actually thought he would be,” added Stewart.
“I sent him a text on Sunday night and said ‘well done, really proud of you’. He texted me back and said thank you. He keeps in touch with everybody.”
Stewart first met Jahmene when he started working at the store 18 months ago.
“He is a nervous guy, that is just his demeanour. We put him face to face with customers to try and improve that. When he left he was 100 times better,” he said.
“He used to like working on mark downs because he could talk to the customers – he had his favourites.
“When he was working out the back he would be singing away to himself. We had seen him on YouTube and we thought he was good, but he didn’t.”
Jahmene is on a career break from the store and Stewart said that although he is welcome to come back, he hoped he wouldn’t need to.
The staff are launching a campaign on Friday which will include T-shirts, goody bags and posters to encourage everyone to vote for Jahmene.
Process colleague at the store, Kate Hamilton, has taken on Jahmene’s duties since he left.
“He is sweet, he is kind and he always has time for everybody – he is just the nicest person I have ever seen,” she said.
“When he was having a tough time at bootcamp, I just wanted to hug him.”
Personnel clerk Andi Kibble said: “You couldn’t meet a more honest guy. I don’t think this will change him because he is very well grounded.”
Admin assistant, Jo Carter, said: “We were all in tears after his first audition. I have heard him singing before online but to see him on TV was amazing.”