THE NORTH’S most famous village shop is aiming to lord it in 2013 with a third-time-lucky bid for glory.
The shop at Humshaugh, Northumberland, which was rescued from closure by volunteers four years ago, has once again taken the top regional accolade in the prestigious Countryside Alliance awards.
Now – for the third time in as many years – the village volunteers will descend on the House of Lords bidding to carry off the national top place.
Humshaugh was chosen as top shop in the CA Village Shop category for the North East, ahead of the highly commended Belsay Shop, also in Northumberland.
And delighted chairman of directors Dick Moules declared: “Obviously we are thrilled. It is real recognition that we are moving up and not standing still.
“It’s great to be recognised again – this is three in a row. Now we are hoping for third time lucky in the national category, though at this stage we don’t know who we are up against.”
Last year Humshaugh was pipped into second place by Ludwell post office stores near Shaftesbury, Dorset. The year before it was Yarpole Community Shop Association in Herefordshire who took the honours.
But in a year when Humshaugh Community Ventures Ltd has introduced a free-hire electric car for the village and renovated the village hall kitchen, it’s hoped the CA judges will finally tip their hats to the Northumbrians.
Regional judge Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Humshaugh is community-minded to an exceptional degree. The shop itself is a meeting place, a tourist information service, a beacon for local produce and a financial supporter to local good causes such as local students and wildlife initiative – and all run by volunteers.
“I am particularly impressed that the shop now runs a community car for local people to use, overcoming poor bus services in favour of a can-do mentality for the rural community. This is a model for community shops everywhere.”
In other categories, the regional winner in the Local Food section was Blagdon Farm Shop in Northumberland, with Knitsley Farm Shop at Consett highly commended.
The top butcher is R Green & Son, Longframlington, with William Peat butchers at Barnard Castle highly commended. And Barnard Castle also comes up trumps in the start-up category, with Cross Lanes Organic Farm taking the top spot ahead of highly commended Eleanor’s Byre of Embleton, Northumberland.
The lucky winners go on to represent the region in the UK and Ireland finals at Westminster on March 13.