The first customer to pass through the doors of the much-anticipated Waitrose store in Melksham was presented with a bunch of flowers and a bottle of champagne.

Jenny Minshall, 58, from Bowerhill had just finished a night shift at Sampford Care Home in Shurnold, where she works as a care assistant, when she popped into the newly-opened store for 8.30am this morning.

She said: “I am really looking forward to having a proper look round and having been to other Waitrose stores I think it’s lovely.

“I had no idea that I was going to be given these flowers and the champagne, but it will do me a treat. I am very pleased.”

The Bath Road store, which has taken over from the former Somerfield supermarket was officially opened by town mayor Richard Wiltshire, town crier Peter Dauncey and store manager David Reid.

Cllr Dauncey gave a cry to announce the opening of the store before Cllr Wiltshire provoked laughter from the crowds, staff and customers during the relaxed ribbon cutting ceremony, when he almost said Sainsbury’s during his speech.

Customers queued up for the 8.30am opening, which was even being advertised by a scarecrow located in a field off the A350 near Melksham.

As well as employing existing Somerfield staff, Waitrose also took on an additional 45 people. In the region of 700 people applied for the jobs.

Cllr Wiltshire said: “It is great that Waitrose has maintained the employment at the store as well as increasing the number of jobs available.

“The store looks very nice and very impressive.”