Fourth oldest shop in Britain up for rural business awards

Itteringham Village Shop was established in 1637 making it the fourth oldest shop in Britain. Pictur

Itteringham Village Shop was established in 1637 making it the fourth oldest shop in Britain. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

It has stood at the heart of its village community for almost 400 years, and now a shop has been shortlisted in two categories at the 2019/20 Rural Business Awards.

Celebration day at Itteringham Village Shop last year. Picture: David Bale

Celebration day at Itteringham Village Shop last year. Picture: David Bale - Credit: Archant

The Itteringham Community Shop, near Aylsham, is up for best regional awards in the categories of rural retail business and social enterprise, charity or community project. It's the fifth year the Rural Business Awards 2019/20, in partnership with Amazon, has been running.

There has been a shop in the heart of Itteringham village since 1637, but the people that run it were threatened with eviction in 2017.

Its future was made secure when the Itteringham Community Association, the volunteer group which runs it and was formed in 1994, signed a 99-year lease with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC),

The council bought the whole property, leasing the shop back to the association for a peppercorn rent and transforming next-door's Fair Meadow House into a holiday let.

Inside Itteringham village shop, near Aylsham. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Inside Itteringham village shop, near Aylsham. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

Shop volunteer Mike Hemsley said: "This is a fitting recognition of our customer support , our local suppliers, the hard work by many volunteers and

the selflessness given by so many over 25 years to maintain a rural community shop in the village.

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"It also recognises the actions of the 'Save our Shop' campaign to successfully secure a 99-year lease with NNDC."

Director and co-founder of the Rural Business Awards Anna Price said: "The 2019/20 awards have seen record numbers of entries and it's encouraging to see so many rural businesses express a desire to celebrate their successes on a regional and national scale.

"We are passionate about creating a nurturing environment where rural businesses can develop, and this starts by showcasing the great work they do. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, well done to the Itteringham Community Shop, and all the shortlisted businesses."

The awards were the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford and are organised by rural business for rural business, with winners in 12 categories. There will be a series of regional finals throughout October and November, ahead of the national final next February.

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