The opening date for the hotly-anticipated Stevenage Debenhams store has been revealed, and the search is now on for a community hero to receive a personal styling session with celebrity fashion designer Julien Macdonald on the day.

Work on building the two-storey 80,000 sq ft department store on the Roaring Meg Retail & Leisure Park began in April 2015 and it will open on August 24 – ahead of the October prediction.

The multi-million pound development is located on the former Toys R Us site and is creating 80 jobs.

It will be part of a new plaza which is due to be completed in the autumn and which will include a promotional and community space which local groups will be invited to use.

Julien Macdonald dresses some of the most famous women in the world, including Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift, and is calling on the community to nominate Stevenage’s own VIP for a special makeover by the designer himself.

Julien, who creates the Star by Julien Macdonald range for Debenhams, said: “We are asking friends, families and community members to nominate the everyday heroes of Hertfordshire who are deserving of recognition and reward ahead of the Stevenage store opening.

“There are many ordinary people who do extraordinary things in local communities and we want to take time to give them the VIP treatment they deserve.”

The winner will be invited to the store on the opening day to cut the ribbon with Julien, enjoy a styling session with the fashion designer, and receive £200 to spend in store.

Store manager Gail Chandler said: “The team and I can’t wait to introduce ourselves to our customers, and to become part of the local community in Stevenage.

“We know there is a strong community spirit, so we’re really looking forward to seeing the entries and hearing about all the great people that help to make up the local community.”

Email nominations to or write to Debenhams Stevenage, Havas PR, 3rd floor, 52 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6JX. Entries should include contact details for the nominee, a photograph and the reasons for the nomination. The closing date for entries is Sunday, July 16.