Brothers Taylor and Elliot Haydon, 10 and eight, are all sunny smiles as they cut the ribbon on Morrisons new look at the Cleveleys superstore.
But this time last year they had lost all they owned to a fire at their Bispham home.
The devastating blaze started with an electrical fault in the attic of their Coriander Close home.
The family-of-five spent nine months in emergency accommodation before moving back in on Christmas Eve.
Morrisons were among many who rallied to the stricken family’s aid after learning of their plight, sending vouchers and toiletries.
By a twist of fate the boys, both pupils at St Bernadette’s Primary, were picked out of hundreds to star in the company’s new TV and online ‘Friendship’ commercials with producers only becoming aware of the family’s circumstances when they asked for pictures. They were told the family had lost everything, including precious picture albums, in the fire.
The kindness of the community kept us going
Mum-of-three Karen, a student midwife, said: “We’re making new memories now and after all the boys went through they deserve a bit of fuss. The kindness of the community kept us going. We were touched by so many lovely gestures – including Morrisons.”
Elliot and Taylor were talent spotted by Jessica Bell, casting agent for Scream Management, at the theatre school Scream run in the resort.
The agency, now based at Media City, Salford, started out in Blackpool, and has produced many of the young rising stars of film, TV and theatre, including Tom Gregory (The A Word), Lucy Fallon (Coronation Street) and Joe-Warren Plant (Emmerdale).
Karen said: “When Jessica called to say the boys had got it we just couldn’t believe it, we were so excited. We are incredibly proud of them, they are fantastic boys and after the year we’ve had it shows their courage and determination. Friends and family have been so supportive and we keep getting calls and texts to say they have just seen the boys on TV.”
Elliot and Taylor appear in the commercial as brothers who make new friends over a barbecue.
Dad Craig added: “We were so looked after on set by Morrisons and the production team. The boys found it a fantastic experience.”
Cleveleys store manager Greg Matthews asked the pair to cut the ribbon on the Amounderness Way store’s new look this week.
Greg said: “It was great to have the Haydon boys in store. They’ve been through a lot and to see them now star in our new advert and open our store has been superb.”
Karen adds: “They got to pick an outfit from Morrisons’ Nutmeg range to wear for the occasion and, best of all for them, had a lovely big breakfast at the store too!”