Next year is a special one for Sir Malcolm Walker as it marks 50 years since he launched the very first Iceland supermarket in Oswestry.

Back then the idea was simple – frozen products that could be bagged up and taken home, but with the guarantee that they would last longer.

Now the company has a multi-million pound turnover and is a high street staple.

“I have great memories of the early days,” said Sir Malcolm during a visit to Moreton Hall School near Oswestry on Friday.

“It was so exciting.”

The very first store opened on Leg Street on November 18, 1970 and the idea was taken from a store in Leeds which was already running a similar service.

Sir Malcolm continued: “I was still working at Woolworths and had just three days off to open the shop, but in that first week we made a profit and we continued every since.”

The Iceland brand still survives in the town to this day with its current store based just around the corner on Oswald Road.

Sir Malcolm, who has been the chief executive for almost the entire time, is based at the head office in Queensferry.

His talk at the school’s annual Business Lunch last week centred on being a ‘player’.

He was also full praise for Moreton Enterprise, which gives students the chance to run their own businesses.

He continued: “In school you look at professions like being a teacher or a solicitor, nobody leaves saying they want to be a shop keeper, but when Jeremy Corbyn wants to give money to everyone where does it come from? Businesses.

“There are two types of people in life – spectators and players – and I want to tell these guys to be players.

“You need perseverance, common sense and to never give up, just keep at it,” he added.

The Business Lunch, sponsored by Investec, saw over 450 business guests in attendance, including students.

Sir Malcolm also talked about the company’s commitment to eliminate plastic packaging and palm oil from its own products, and its commitment to support dementia research.

And as for the 50th anniversary – well there’s a very special surprise for the 1,000 Iceland store managers, but Sir Malcolm was keeping tight-lipped on what that is!