Joanna Lumley pays tribute to Sandersons founder as she opens new Wellness Spa

Remembering Deborah Holmes: Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Joanna is pictured with Deborah's husband, MD Mark Dransfield. Picture by Simon Hulme
Remembering Deborah Holmes: Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Joanna is pictured with Deborah's husband, MD Mark Dransfield. Picture by Simon Hulme
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The Absolutely Fabulous fashionista-playing actress revisited the Sheffield Fox Valley department store.

Joanna Lumley made a fabulous return to Sandersons department store at Sheffield’s Fox Valley shopping centre today when she drew back a pair of glistening silver curtains to reveal its new Wellness Spa.

Deborah Holmes, who died earlier this year, pictured at Sandersons opening in 2016.

Deborah Holmes, who died earlier this year, pictured at Sandersons opening in 2016.

The event marked a return visit for the Absolutely Fabulous star, who launched the award-winning Fox Valley development back in June 2016.

The new Sandersons spa offers vegan and organic products and treatments as well as specialist treatments suitable for cancer patients, in a concept created to build on the legacy of the store’s founder Deborah Holmes, who died in January this year after living with cancer for five years.

“The first time I came to Fox Valley I thought it was so perfect,” Ms Lumley said after the launch. “Today I have come back and it’s lovely to see that all the trees have grown, everything has settled in, some of the shops have changed and it is all looking just sensational.

“Opening that beautiful spa in memory of Debs and being in Sandersons today has just been wonderful. This is such a fantastic place, it is as if it was always here and as if it is as old as the hills that surround it and just as beautiful.” Earlier, when she addressed the crowds who had turned out to see her, Ms Lumley said she remembered visiting the store site as it was being fitted out, accompanied by Deborah, and described it as looking at “a kind of dream of the future”.

Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Dressed elegantly in black with a pink embellished coat, as she stood on the Sandersons staircase (the wall of which features a massive photo montage with pictures of the actress on her previous visit), she praised the store and its new spa, saying: “The way that this has all been done, and all been prepared and all been selected, makes it one of these fantastic places which can justifiably be called a destination.”

Announcing the opening of the spa last month, Deborah’s husband, Mark Dransfield, who is managing director of Dransfield Properties and now heads up Sandersons store, said: “We have really set out to create something special with the Sandersons Spa with a focus on the highest quality products and providing vegan and natural treatments.

“Debs was so passionate about the products we use on our skin and that’s something we really wanted to focus on at Sandersons with the choice of brands we’re working with.”

The store is working with brands including Voya, SKNRG and Caudalie as well as Clarins and SoNatural Therapy. The Sandersons Spa team have received specialist training in all the products including a fact-finding training visit to Voya at Sligo in Ireland where the company harvests the seaweed for its detoxifying treatments.

Joanna Lumley during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge, Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge, Picture by Simon Hulme

The spa features two new treatment rooms and lounge-style seating, with a reception area and access from the ground floor of the main store.

Last week Sandersons won Best Retailer in the prestigious 2019 Drapers Independent Awards. The Fox Valley shopping centre has won a RICS Pro-Yorkshire Award for Regeneration.

Treatments at the Wellness Spa can be booked at www.sandersonsdeptstore.co.uk

Read More: See Sandersons on the catwalk at the Great Yorkshire Show 2019

Joanna Lumley OBE on her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE on her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Flashback to 2016, Joanna Lumley OBE is with Deborah Holmes and members of the Sandersons and Fox Valley teams at the opening of the award-winning shopping centre.

Flashback to 2016, Joanna Lumley OBE is with Deborah Holmes and members of the Sandersons and Fox Valley teams at the opening of the award-winning shopping centre.

Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE with MD Mark Dransfield at Fox Valley. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE with MD Mark Dransfield at Fox Valley. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE opens the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE opens the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme

Joanna Lumley OBE, during her visit to open the Wellness Spa, at Sandersons, Fox Valley, Stocksbridge. Picture by Simon Hulme