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Obituary: Deborah Holmes, founder of Sandersons department store

The founder and managing director of independent department store Sandersons, Deborah Holmes, died aged 56 on 2 January. She had been living with cancer for six years. 

Holmes founded the Sheffield-based independent department store in September 2016 and was a partner in property development company Dransfield Properties, also based in Sheffield, with her husband, Mark Dransfield. 

He said: “Debs fought her illness with courage and dignity. She is a true inspiration to all who knew her. Her passion for life and family never wavered and we will miss her dreadfully.”

Holmes and Dransfield married in 1992 and had two daughters, Rebecca, 23, and Lucy, 20.

A former journalist, she launched the free newspaper The Stocksbridge Trader in the late 1980s, and turned it from a monthly to a weekly publication before selling it to the Barnsley Chronicle group.

Amanda Holmes, Deborah’s sister, said: “She was so thoughtful in private and in the store – she loved making her customers happy and helping them to look their best.

“She was a true Yorkshire woman and knew we like quality and value for money, so was always aware of that in what she sold.”

Holmes’ funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church, Bolsterstone, Sheffield, on 12 January at 10am, followed by a private cremation.

A collection will be held for St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield at the service on the day, and at Sandersons in the days leading up to the funeral.


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