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John Lewis recruits Sally Gunnell to engage employees with sport

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John Lewis Partnership has announced former Olympic champion and world recorder holder, Sally Gunnell, as the ambassador of its Partners in Sport programme, as the business prepares for London 2012, in a bid to engage its employees with sport.

Partners in Sport is an employee and community engagement initiative from John Lewis Partnership and Gunnell will promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle, in and out of the workplace, as well as using her own sporting experience to inspire and guide staff in overcoming individual and team challenges over the next twelve months. Gunnell has already played an active role within the Partners in Sport programme and earlier this year gave a motivational speech to the management team in John Lewis Southampton.

Over the next year Gunnell will also be visiting John Lewis Oxford Street, Milton Keynes, Stratford and Trafford to give similar team talks with Partners in addition to working on a series of meet and greets with employees at Waitrose shops. In September she will be reunited with the John Lewis Southampton team when she takes part in a charity cycle challenge on the Isle of Wight. Simon Wardell, development manager, Partners in Sport, John Lewis Partnership, said: "We are delighted to announce Sally as the ambassador of our Partners in Sport programme and believe that her achievements in the sporting world will be inspirational to all our Partners. Not only will Sally be promoting the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle across the business, she'll also be spending time with Partners to explain how they can transfer the skills they have learnt during the coaching qualification, back into their day-to-day roles."

Gunnell added: "I have always been a firm believer that the secret to a happy and committed workforce is an active one and it is fantastic to see a company like John Lewis Partnership investing in the wellbeing of its employees. Having already spent time at a number of shops, it is clear to see that Partners are excited about the initiative and are embracing the opportunity to learn new skills.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games is one of the world's biggest sporting events and it is really encouraging to see British businesses getting behind it and offering employees the chance to soak up the London 2012 spirit as well as personally benefit." John Lewis Partners in Sport programme is also providing support and advice to Partners and their close family members who are competing at a national level or above in their chosen sport, including target shooter and Commonwealth Games medallist Nick Baxter and Great Britain's Paralympic judo star Lesley Reid.