Tuneful Jack gives shoppers a treat
SHOPPERS at one of Swindon’s most popular stores are being stopped in their tracks by the musical talents of Jack Townsend, a Christmas temp operating the tills.
The 22-year-old, of Lomond Close, Sparcells, grew up in Swindon and began a promising career on the stage in 1995, with a child’s role in a West End performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
He’s now working the tills and stacking shelves at M&S in Regent Street, after being taken on as a temporary member of staff for the busy Christmas period.
Jack began his job in the store on Wednesday, after returning from an around the world cruise ship tour with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. However singing was not in the job description.
Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra numbers were not on the agenda when Jack had his interview for a job at the store, but when he mentioned his past entertainer roles on cruise ships and stages, store manager Debbie Lock had an idea.
“I came back looking for work in the break I have between spells on the cruise ships,” said Jack.
“I mentioned in the interview that my previous job was as a singer and eventually they got me singing out here for charity.” The performer has been kitted out in a suit from the store’s racks and is captivating people with his array of Christmas classics, with those most impressed dropping money into a bucket in front of him, which will go to M&S’s chosen charity The Guide Dogs For The Blind.
As of 3pm on Friday, two and a half days after starting singing , he had raised £700 for the charity.
He is set to continue singing until January 4.
“I’m just doing my job; it’s nice to do it for charity,” said Jack. “It’s nice to see all the shoppers smiling as they pass.
“A few people have said how shocked they were to see me singing because they thought it was a record when they first heard it.”
Jack also said his mother had been swept off her feet by his new position and was very proud of him.
In store with Jack yesterday were his grandparents, John and Sheelagh Ryan, 70 and 66 respectively, of Hughes Street in Rodbourne.
Sheelagh said: “We are biased, but we think he’s brilliant. “He’s wasted here and on the cruise ships. When you watch The X Factor you wonder why he isn’t doing it.
“People have been coming through, dancing about and smiling. We haven’t heard any negative things about it.”
M&S’s regional manager heard the singer and the shop’s growing popularity with Christmas shoppers and visited on Thursday. The store is becoming known throughout the chain for its singer and his microphone.
Jack returns to the cruise ships in April next year.
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