TRIBUTES have flooded in after a shop worker who gave years of service to one of the largest supermarkets in the Lothians died suddenly.
Peter Brownlee, 51, an employee at the Tesco store in Dalkeith, passed away after suffering a heart attack.
An extremely popular member of staff, Peter’s dedication to his job and cheerfulness around customers led to him being named the shop’s “Cardboard King”.
Now, in recognition of his contribution to the store’s success, devastated colleagues have begun fundraising in a bid to generate enough money for a memorial bench.
In just 24 hours, staff and members of the local community have raised over £5000 on a JustGiving page, smashing their original £1000 target.
Today, Jenny Whyte, Tesco’s store manager, paid tribute to her colleague and told of how he would be “greatly missed” by all.
She said: “It’s been a very, very, sad week at Tesco.
“Both our staff and customers are absolutely devastated. Peter was such a special character within the store - things just won’t be the same without him.”
Peter, from Newtongrange, died on Monday afternoon after he was struck by a sudden heart attack at the weekend.
Having finished his shift at the store on Bonnyrigg Road at 6pm, Peter was looking forward to a week’s holiday.
But his colleagues were shocked to discover he was instead rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Saturday night after suffering the attack.
Jenny said: “Tesco was Peter’s family, he absolutely loved being at work and he always worked so hard.
“He knew everyone and everyone knew him.
“He took time out to get to know people personally and help our customers.
“Peter has been working at our Tesco store on Bonnyrigg Road since it opened 17 years ago.
“However, he also worked at the former Dalkeith store as a trolley boy.”
Peter had a passion for Dr Who, Star Trek and Sci-Fi films.
A keen supporter of Newtongrange Star Football Club, he was also a member of the local brass band.
Explaining how he came to be known as the “Cardboard King”, Jenny said: “I think one of the proudest moments of his career was when he was awarded his Cardboard King badge.
“He used to make such a good job of going around the store clearing all the cardboard away that we decided to give him an award.
“Last year we celebrated his 50th birthday at the store in style and he was over the moon.
“I can never recall him phoning in sick, he was so dedicated.”
She added: “The news of the heart attack came as a complete shock for all of us.
“He had been at work during the day on Saturday.”
Tributes to Peter have also flooded in on Facebook.
Sarah Braiden said: “Really saddened by this.
“Such a cheery chap who will be sadly missed especially in his community. RIP Peter.”
Steph Paton said: “RIP Peter.
“So sad, although everyone should take comfort in the knowledge that he obviously touched so many lives and was a well loved member of the community.”