An employee at Romford’s Wilko store has launched a fundraiser to organise a farewell for his team as it closes permanently next week.

Robert Mays, 39, who works as a supervisor at the site in the Mercury Mall, started the campaign after seeing colleagues in other stores organise one.

Having worked in the store for more than six years himself, Robert told the Recorder that most of his co-workers have been there for nine to 20 years. There are about 24 of them, he said, who will be “effectively unemployed” following the retailer’s collapse.

He said: “Most of us are long term employees here and we are a very close group.”

The store will be open to the public until 6pm on Thursday (October 5), with Robert and his team coming back on Friday to tidy it up. He added: “On Friday evening we will just go out for some drinks for a bit of a farewell.

“You would still be in contact with some of course, but it will be the last time the Wilko family will be together as a group.”

Read More: Final east London Wilko closure dates revealed

The fundraiser, that started this morning (September 28), is an attempt to put some money together “to say thank you to the team”, Robert said.

So far, they have reportedly raised about £60. If they get more funds, Robert said he hopes to get a food basket for the team.

He added: “We are not expecting people to donate of course. This is only if they want to.

"Depending on how much we raise... if we got a couple of hundred quid then we can share a basket, get some food”.

A post about the campaign, shared on the Mercury Mall’s social media page, attracted comments from residents some of whom said they are “very sad” to see Wilko go.

Angie Wilson said: “Going to miss you all."

The post features a QR code that can be used to send contributions to the team for the farewell.

Wilko stores across east London are closing after the retailer went into administration and failed to secure a buyer.

The shops in Barking and Brentwood are being taken over by Poundland, but there is currently no clarity on the future of the Romford site.