IT was another step back on a long road for gas explosion victim Kyle Roe when he returned to work at the Morrisons store in Chippenham earlier this year.

Modestly, store manager Will Askey insists the supermarket chain did 'nothing unusual' in not only holding the job open for him for over two years, but also doing everything they could to make his return practical and as smooth as possible.

Last week Kyle asked the Gazette to say a public thank you to Morrisons for their support and care, not only for him but for his family while he was lying in hospital in Swansea during his long recovery from the 87 per cent burns he suffered in 2017.

Kyle said he "could not express enough his gratitude" for what he called “the most humane and kindest act from an employer".

"We always said there would be a job for him when he was ready," said Mr Askey, who had only joined the staff at Chippenham shortly before the tragedy. "Kyle loved working here, a lot of his mates were here too.

"Staff here were really upset, we had several collections and raised quite a good chunk of money for his family, because it was terrible what they were going through.

"His mum has been in shopping every week since they came home from the hospital, and kept us in touch with what was going on.

"As Kyle recovered I remember having meetings with him and working out what he could and couldn't do. He wanted to come back on produce, which is where he had been.

"We had to do different uniforms for him, to make sure they would not irritate his skin, and things like that."

Kyle is now working a couple of short shifts a week at the store, and plans to build that up further as his recovery continues.

"We said right from the start, if you are having a bad day or bad week don't come in, take the time you need," said Mr Askey, 32, who joined Morrisons after started his career in retail management with Tesco.

Brought up in Devizes, where he still lives, the former Lavington School pupil realised being able to get back to work could be helpful to Kyle's recovery.

"I think it helped him, knowing he could come back," he said. "He had something to work towards. He has got a lot of friends who work for us, they are still here, there are people who were here before him and they know him as Kyle, not as a burns victim, and I think that means a lot to him.

"He did not want people staring, and we just said if he had a moment where he felt uncomfortable, and needed to go and work in the office for a bit, just do that.

Mr Askey, who recently moved on to be store manager at the Bath branch of Morrisons, added: "As a manager I know people have to work for money, but work should be fun and welcoming as well.

"People like to do a good job and they should be able to enjoy it as well, because there is so much stress in people's lives as it is."