Tamworth Co-operative Society has been presented with a special memento to mark the town’s newly elected MP highlighting its local significance in her maiden speech.
In her first address to the House of Commons, Sarah Edwards spoke warmly about the Society’s rich history and the ethical principles on which it was founded.
The Labour MP, who won the Tamworth by-election in October, told the House: “The Tamworth Co-operative Society is still an integral part of the town and has featured greatly in its development.
“Founded by philanthropist and social entrepreneur William MacGregor in 1886, it championed above all else fair prices and quality products for the poor and working classes, flying in the face of profiteering shopkeepers at the time.”
The MP called into the Society’s head office in Colehill to hand over a special copy of her speech to chief executive Julian Coles. She described the Society as ‘uniquely Tamworth’ and an organisation which should be celebrated.
The extract from the official Hansard report will now form part of the Society’s collection of historic memorabilia.
Julian Coles said he was delighted that the Society’s local heritage had been highlighted in the heart of government.
“It was a big honour for us to receive such a glowing tribute in the Commons. We thank Sarah for including us and for gifting us this framed copy of her words which will help preserve the accolade for posterity.
“Some people wrongly assume that we are part of the giant national Co-op Group which has branches throughout the UK. In fact, we are one of the last remaining small, independent co-operative societies and have been part of the town for nearly 140 years.
“We are as much a part of the town’s heritage as the Tamworth Pig or Reliant Robin.”
He added: “One of our founding principles is to give back to the community and we have never strayed from that ethos. Our Community Dividend Fund scheme alone has raised more than £100,000 over the past decade and we hand out thousands more each year in separate initiatives. As our motto states, we’re local, we’re independent and we care.”