Final countdown to Stevenage Debenhams: Brave mum to get makeover from celebrity designer Julien MacDonald on opening day

Debenhams in Stevenage will open on August 24, with a Nando's, Patisserie Valerie and a Costa Coffee

Debenhams in Stevenage will open on August 24, with a Nando's, Patisserie Valerie and a Costa Coffee inside. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

It’s the final countdown to the opening of the new Debenhams store at Roaring Meg Retail & Leisure Park in Stevenage next Thursday, August 24.

The retailer has recruited 80 customer service ‘superstars’ from the local area, to serve customers across a variety of different departments at the 80,000-sq-ft store – which will stock ranges from Designers at Debenhams including Jasper Conran, John Rocha and Savannah Millar.

There is a shiny new beauty hall which showcases brands such as Too Faced, Kat Von D and Buxom.

Celebrity fashion designer Julien Macdonald OBE will be cutting the ribbon with North Herts resident Jean Robinson, who was nominated for a pampering session at the store in a special opening-day competition.

Jean’s daughter, Stephanie Squires, nominated her mother for her enduring courage because she has given up her Friday nights and summer holidays to help vulnerable adults through the Mencap charity, but had to give up this work due to a chronic knee complaint, and later to battle breast cancer.


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Despite this devastating news, Jean has continued to fight the disease while undergoing treatment and stays in and out of hospital – and has continued to be a devoted mother, grandmother and wife.

On opening day, Jean will receive a style makeover from glamour king Julien Macdonald – who has dressed a multitude of stars, from Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez to Kim Kardashian and Kendal Jenner.

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He is also behind the Star by Julien Macdonald range for Debenhams.

Jean said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the call saying I had been nominated to cut the ribbon for the new Debenhams opening.

“The last few years have been extremely hard for me and my family, so to hear the kind words that have been said about me and to know my story has touched the hearts of many others makes me extremely happy.

“The new store has been the talk of the town recently so I’m extremely excited to join Julien Macdonald to announce it is officially open.”

Stevenage store manager Gail Chandler said: “We had so many fantastic nominations for local heroes – it’s been lovely reading about all of the amazing people who live here in Stevenage. However, Jean stood out from the crowd as our worthy winner.

“The team and I can’t wait to open the doors and welcome the community to help celebrate with us on the morning.”

Phil Huby of Aberdeen Asset Management, which manages the park, said he is delighted the opening has moved to August – two months ahead of the scheduled date of October.

He said: “Debenhams is a brand steeped in retail history and we’re thrilled to welcome it into the Roaring Meg retail mix.

“Debenhams fits perfectly into our already strong retailer offering and will add further strength to it. We’re anticipating the opening to be a great success and we wish the team all the best of luck.”

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