MP joins Kirdford Stores volunteers at Countryside Alliance awards
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert gave his support to the Kirdford Village Stores team when they attended the Countryside Alliance awards in London on Wednesday (13 March).
The proud winners of the best South East village shop travelled up to the House of Lords for the winners' reception. Sue Ransley, who is chair of the community owned shop, and her husband Councillor Josef Ransley were joined by the store's team for the special occasion.
The Countryside Alliance Awards, which have become known as the Rural Oscars, are now in their ninth year and are an annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through small hard-working businesses.
Kirdford Stores have been gathering awards and nominations since they opened in July 2010. They are already holders of the national award by the Daily Telegraph Magazine for ‘Best Corner Shop/Village shop'. This is the second time that the shop has been recognised in the Countryside Alliance awards.
The store opened after local residents raised the funds through donations and grants, all wanting to avoid the six mile round-trip to the nearest shop.
Today the store has grown into a real community hub for Kirdford. It not only sells produce and daily essentials, much of which is local, but it is also a place for meetings and clubs. The local residents continue to work hard to develop the store and raise funds.
Sue Ransley, Chair of Kirdford Village Store said after the event: "We were thrilled to win the South East regional prize and to be invited to the House of Lords for an amazing event. We are so grateful to Nick Herbert for taking the time to support us."
Nick Herbert said: "Kirdford Village Store is a fantastic shop and a great example of a community enterprise. It thoroughly deserves its award as best South East village shop in the Rural Oscars for the second year running, and I hope that next year it will be duly recognised in the national awards.
"It was a pleasure to meet the Store's volunteers at the reception and to show them around the Houses of Parliament afterwards. I would also like to wish the Store's departing manager Craig Ramus well in his new venture, the Windmill Grocer near Barnham, which I look forward to visiting."
Public voting for the next awards begins in late Summer and runs through to November. Details can be found on the Countryside Alliance Awards website: www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk.
1. Kirdford Village Stores website can be found at www.kirdfordvillagestores.com.
2. The Countryside Alliance awards website can be found at http://www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk/.