The moving shoe shop window that paid tribute to our war heroes – without a shoe to be seen

It was the finest shoe shop window in the country – but it didn’t feature a single item of footwear!

By David Kessen
Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 11:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 11:38 am
The Shoe Room's award winning display commemorating Armistice Day at Priory Walk
The Shoe Room's award winning display commemorating Armistice Day at Priory Walk

That was the verdict of a panel of judges who decided that the Show Room, on Priory Walk, had put together the best display in their industry last year when they marked Armistice Day in Doncaster.

Michelle and Richard Smith created a moving tribute to those who lost their lives serving Britain in the armed forces to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One last year.

The Shoe Room's award winning display commemorating Armistice Day at Priory Walk

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Now the tribute has been recognised by the Footwear Industry Awards 2019, which presented the shop with an prize at a VIP awards night at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Richard and Michelle Smith at the Shoe room in Doncaster with their National Footwear Industry Awards

Richard said: “The Shop Front of the Year award is hotly contested and is ’the’ award that every retailer wants. It is also the only award that carries a prize – £1,500 in holiday vouchers.

“Of the five stores in the final, our competition was from several parts of the UK including what we considered our closest competitor ,which was a store in Kensington, West London. Imagine, a little store in Priory Walk Doncaster, beating competition from one of the most affluent and prestigious parts of the UK!”

Michelle and Richard sent several pictures of different window displays they had created the past year. But their winning entry was a display they created to commemorate and honour those who fought and died for their country.

Richard added: “Our Armistice window must have touched people, as we actually had people leaving donations in store which we gave to SAFA, the armed forces charity.

“The ironic thing was there wasn’t a single pair of shoes in the display. For us, it was about honouring those who gave so much.”

The couple opened the Shoe Room in November 2017.

Richard moved into the shoe industry after having worked as a lorry driver for many years after leaving school, before taking redundancy to start working in a shoe shop.