A PIONEERING village shop has been awarded an impressive accolade, for the second time.
Kirdford Village Stores is South East Champions 2012 for the Telegraph Village Shop in the Countryside Alliance Awards.
Nicknamed the ‘rural Oscars’, the awards are set up to celebrate, support and promote rural communities and acknowledge the hours spent by those who ‘go beyond the call of duty’ in their work.
Sue Ransley, chairman of the Kirdford Village Shop Committee, said she was ‘proud’ to have reached this stage in the competition for the second year.
“The Countryside Alliance has, in its short life, become the major British campaigning organisation on rural issues,” she said.
“These are hugely prestigious awards, where we are competing against private companies, not just community shops, so we are really proud and delighted.
“And it’s a great testimony to our amazing team, Craig, Dona, Jo, Isy, Christian, Calum and all the volunteers, so thank you.
“Also, a humungous thank you to all you lovely people that voted for us, because that is what first gets us noticed. It is a great achievement.”
After the initial voting, the village shop team submitted a written document about the shop’s history and the social history of the village.
They also had to include what they sell, a description of the relationship the shop has with its suppliers, and the community involvement.
“Then at some point the secret shoppers came,” said Sue.
The champions will be judged by a panel of experts, including Owen Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright, and Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner..
They will then go to the House of Lords on Wednesday, March 13, for a winners’ reception.
The shop was officially opened in 2010 by actress Julie Walters.
Although the shop, run by manager Craig Ramus, focuses on local produce, there is also a coffee shop and a meeting room.