CROWDS descended on a 'new Woolworths' which opened its doors for the first time in Amersham this morning.

People queued to get in to alworths, which was set up by former employees of the ex-High Street chain, as it welcomed its first customers.

Described as a 'general retailer', alworths sells many of the products that used to be available at Woolworths – including its famed pic 'n' mix.

Cutting the ribbon were Amersham's Mayor, Martin Phillips, and 11-year-old Chesham Bois School pupil Nicole Walker, who won a competition.

Proud mum Chris Hyrons said: “I'm very proud to see her do it. She was really excited and nervous this morning, there was lots of smiling.

“I got the call at 10.30 on Tuesday morning and it wasn't until I picked her up from school at 3.30 before I could tell her.

“We rang everybody afterwards, saying Nicole's won the competition.”

Nicole, who also won a year's supply of pic 'n' mix and a Nintendo DS console, said: “It was amazing.”

The first customer to get served at the Sycamore Road store was 43-year-old mum-of-two Clare Murphy, who bought some computer accessories for daughter Roisin.

Mrs Murphy, a business travel firm director from Stanley Hill, said: “It's great to have it on your doorstep, I have really missed it. It's great to come here on the first day and support the new shop.”

Speaking of being the first customer, she joked: “It's really nice – I'll have to go and introduce myself to the manager now.”

Among the other customers were father and daughter Lucy Owen and Roy Rosenthal, who had travelled from Prestwood and Rickmansworth respectively.

Mrs Owen, 33, said: “We've come to have a browse. It's been busy, that's what drew us here.”

Mr Rosenthal, 62, added: “It's great. They have done well.”

Amersham Mayor Martin Phillips said he was “ecstatic” at the new store.

He said: “It's like seeing an old friend back. There's nothing worse than seeing empty shops in the High Street and hopefully we'll have a full High Street by Christmas.

“I'll come up with the kids when it's quieter – they want some of the famous pic 'n' mix.”

Alworths Managing Director Andy Latham said the new shop had been proving very popular.

He added there were currently no plans to open further stores in south Bucks, but he said: “That's not to say there won't be any in the future.”