Bexleyheath Bhs Bebe marks 25 years with dream trip to see long lost family

A TRIP of a lifetime to visit long lost family on the other side of the Atlantic is on the cards for a dedicated store worker marking 25 years with a high street retail giant.

To mark more than two decades of loyal service, 58-year-old Bebe Nelson, who works at Bhs in Broadway Shopping Centre in Bexleyheath, has been given 16 weeks’ paid leave from her job in the fashion accessories department to catch up with her six brothers and three sisters who live in different states across America.

Apart from a couple of emotional reunions that are planned, another highlight of Bebe’s spectacular trip will be a luxury cruise around the Caribbean with one of her brothers courtesy of the $1 million windfall he won on a scratch card last year.

Bebe originally joined Bhs as a sales associate at its Surrey Quays store back in 1989 and has since worked in various departments, before taking on her job at the Broadway Shopping Centre branch, where she now specialises in ladies’ accessories including shoes and handbags.

As she notched up her quarter of a century with the company in June she was thrilled to learn that she was one of the key staff who qualified for a four-month paid sabbatical away from her duties.

Bebe, who lives in Bexleyheath, resolved that she would spend the time visiting the States where most of her nine brothers and sisters have lived for some years.

The family were born and raised in Guyana on the northern coast of South America.

She said: “It’s a very big family and, apart from myself and my older sister Fatima who both live in England, everyone else is in America, so that’s where I decided to use the time off to visit.

“Although I did meet up with a few of them when we attended my late mother’s funeral in Florida in 2012, I haven’t seen most of them for many years and this is my big opportunity.

“I’m planning to fly out to the States next month and we’ve then arranged a couple of big family reunions.

“Quite a number of my brothers and sisters live in and around New York, so that’s where we’ll have the first gathering.

“It will be great to be together with my older sister Baby, who is 60, and my younger sister Rita who is in her mid-fifties.

“At the same reunion I’ll also be meeting with my two older brothers who are based in New York. They are Wajid and Sham, who are both in their mid-sixties. Also there will be my 65-year-old brother Eddie who lives in Pennsylvania, which means he doesn’t have to travel far to New York.”

Bebe, who has a son David, 28, and daughter Marie, 29, added: “After the big reunion in New York I’m looking forward to another family get-together down south in Florida about a week later.

“That’s where I’m going to meet up with my eldest brother Salim, who is in his late sixties, and my youngest brother Hossein, who is in his mid-fifties.

“Hossein has something really fantastic planned as last July he was lucky enough to win one million dollars on a scratchcard and he’s using some of the money to pay for us to go on a cruise.

“From Florida we’ll be sailing down to Mexico and then to Jamaica and we’ll also be visiting some other islands in the Caribbean.

“That’s going to be something really special but I’m very much looking forward to all my time in the States and seeing all my brothers and sisters again.

“I’m very grateful to Bhs, where I have loved working for all these years, for being so generous as to allow me to have the 16 week sabbatical.”

Peter Sedge, Broadway Shopping Centre Manager, said: “It has been lovely to hear about the trip which Bebe has planned. A real heart-warming and positive tale for us to share and I wish Bebe lots of best wishes with her visit and we look forward to hearing all about it when she returns.”

Bebe’s boss, Bhs Manager, Sophie Cassat, agreed and added: “Bebe is a valuable member our team. We are all very excited for her and can’t wait to hear all about her travels upon her return.”

For more information about other stores at Broadway Shopping Centre go to

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