A STORE worker caught up in a terrifying armed robbery says she is “overwhelmed” by the support she has received from her community.

Jemma Lee, 35, was working at the Co-op store in Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, on Saturday night when two masked men armed with a knife and hammer raided the shop, threatened staff and demanded cash.

Miss Lee was the first to encounter the attackers and has been left emotionally vulnerable following the horrific raid.

“Obviously it was scary - it’s not a situation anybody wants to be in. You don’t go into work thinking that’s going to happen to you.”

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, she described feeling jumpy and down about what had happened, but that all changed when Birkenshaw residents pulled together in a show of strength against those who unleashed terror in their community.

Michelle Gordon, 32, Jemma’s partner’s daughter, and Sam Nowak, 30, manager of the George IV pub in the village, launched a fundraising campaign in a bid to cheer up the three members of staff affected.

“The fundraising has totally lifted my mood,” Miss Lee said. “It’s made me feel I can go back into work because of the community support.”

She also thanked her manager, whom she credits with being a “brilliant” support since the ordeal. And while the fundraising was initially kept a secret, Miss Lee eventually discovered the outpouring of support on Facebook.

“I was just totally overwhelmed by the support and by what Michelle and Sam had done to get the community together,” she said.

“There’s a lot of thought that’s gone into helping us.”

She added it wasn’t just a case of the money, but of the resounding message of ‘don’t let this get to you’. “I feel humbled by it,” Miss Lee said.

Miss Gordon said: “Jemma is my mum’s partner and I saw her in a bad way the next day.

“My first thought was ‘what can I do to help her and the others?’ They all must be going through it. I thought it could be a good event for the village to do something nice for them.

“It’s something positive from a negative - it’s traumatic what’s happened, but let’s get it back around and come together as a village.”

Miss Nowak described the response as “amazing”.

Jemma’s partner Angela Gordon, 51, said: “It’s had a huge impact and I’m really, really proud of Michelle and Sam and what they have done.”

The fundraising event will be held at the George IV pub, Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, on Saturday, November 18, and will include live entertainment, karaoke and a raffle, with stacks of gifts donated by businesses.

Money can also be donated at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michelle-gordon.