A SAINSBURY’S store assistant in York who was admired and respected by colleagues and customers alike has died, aged 64.

Wayne McDermott, who worked at the supermarket giant’s convenience store in Blossom Street, was so well liked that customers nominated him for his picture to appear at York Art Gallery last year in an ‘Our Heroes’ exhibition.

The popular exhibition celebrated key workers for their selfless efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emma Horsley, a manager at the York Sainsbury's store, has paid tribute to her colleague Wayne, who she said had passed away peacefully at his home in Acomb on April 26, leaving a widow Jackie, after he had been "cruelly taken by cancer so quickly".

She said he was a "kind, lovely man" who was "part of the fixtures" at the store, where regular customers thought a lot of him.

She said that as he was taken on his last journey to York Crematorium for his funeral on Thursday, staff had stood in the grounds in their masks and Sainsbury's uniforms to say their final goodbyes to not just their colleague but a friend.

“Everyone who worked with Wayne has fond memories of him, from the smell of his deep heat, which he was always using for his bad back, stinking up the canteen, Danny O’Dea impressions, his sometimes terrible jokes and his love of his family as we got regular updates on his beloved grandchildren Elisha and Bobby,” she said.

“Our regular customers thought a lot of Wayne; they even nominated him to have his picture hung in the York Art Gallery as part of the essential workers show.

“He was up on the wall for everyone to see. It was a very proud moment for him.

“He often spoke to customers about football and everyone knew Wayne was an avid Leeds fan.

“If Wayne was ever on holiday, the first thing customers would ask was 'where’s Wayne?'.

“Wayne was a part of our Sainsbury’s family for 15 years since Jacksons on Blossom Street became a Sainsbury’s.

“He was a part of the fixtures and someone who would always be there. He was a kind, lovely man who will be deeply missed by us all.”