‘It is difficult to express my feelings of loss’: Daughter of former Itteringham Village Shop owners reacts to news of possible closure

Committee member Mike Hemsley with Gil Stead, daughter of former Itteringham shopkeeper Brian Fairhe

Committee member Mike Hemsley with Gil Stead, daughter of former Itteringham shopkeeper Brian Fairhead. Photo: Steve Downes. - Credit: Archant

The daughter and granddaughter of shopkeepers who ran a village store for decades has spoken of her pain at the news that it may close after 380 years.

Brian Fairhead.
Photo: Bill Smith

Brian Fairhead. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Gil Stead, from Sheringham, is the daughter of Brian Fairhead and granddaughter of Albert Fairhead, who consecutively ran Itteringham Shop for many years until it became a community-run operation in 1994.

Now called Itteringham Community Shop, its future is in the balance in the wake of a lease termination notice being served by Hayes and Storr Solicitors on behalf of shop owners Gary and Hannah Applin.

It gives the current tenants until October 8 to quit - and Mrs Stead said she was 'devastated'.

She said: 'The Community Shop is used by so many different groups in the county...the local population, tourists, cycling groups, walking groups, etc. It would be a great loss to many people who live in or visit our village.

Dorothy and Brian Fairhead.

Dorothy and Brian Fairhead. - Credit: Archant

'On a more personal note, I have to say that when I read about the shop being evicted in October, I felt immensely sad and upset. I find it really challenging to imagine my life without the community shop continuing in the service of the community, following on the great traditions of my father and my grandfather.'

She added: 'I am finding it difficult to find the words to express my feelings of loss. Not only for me and my generation, but the past and its stories and the lack of a shop future for my children and grandchildren.'

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This paper tried to contact Mr and Mrs Applin to give them a chance to comment, but at this point we have had no response.

Locals have posted comments about the possible closure on the shop's Facebook page.

Albert Fairhead at Itteringham.

Albert Fairhead at Itteringham. - Credit: Archant

Lily Law said: 'I have many lovely childhood memories of Mr Fairhead who used to let us go behind the counter to choose our Saturday sweets. My godmother and her son Widge Savage have been a strategic part of the shop's success. My family still live in the village and (like many others in the community) rely on the shop.'

Daisy Bulwer Long said: 'Absolutely devastating news. Such a wonderful shop for the community and afar with great products...long live this historical shop.'

The shop was established in 1637, and has since 1994 been been run by the Itteringham Community Association and a dedicated team of employees and volunteers.

A spokesman for the community shop association said: 'As soon as the time is right we will be in a position to go public with press releases, and more than likely with an open meeting to outline where we are up to, what our plans are, and what help we will need in order to achieve our aims going forward, both in the short and the longer term.

Albert Fairhead outside Itteringham Village Stores in 1908.

Albert Fairhead outside Itteringham Village Stores in 1908. - Credit: Archant

'Thank you all for your support. Together we can ensure that our 380th year isn't our last.'

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