THE shop that villagers wouldn’t allow to die is in the running for a top prize that could take its community pride all the way to the House of Lords next March.
Humshaugh Village Shop in the North Tyne Valley looked doomed to closure two years ago but the business was kept going by locals who formed their own company.
Now the shop is in line for a national award after being shortlisted in the North-East Countryside Alliance Awards Village Shop/Post Office category.
If the shop wins that section in January, it will go forward to the national finals with 11 other regional victors across the country.
Dick Moules, chairman of Humshaugh Community Ventures Ltd, which secured £35,000 funding to save the shop, last night greeted the award nomination as “an honour for the whole village”.
The parish councillor said: “We are absolutely delighted and this is a tribute to everyone who has helped us.
“Normally in things like this you start off with a lot of enthusiasm and it dwindles. But we have got more volunteers now than when we started.
“We now have over 200 members and 50 volunteers who run the shop and we have done so well that we are now able to finance projects in the village such as new windows for the village hall.
“The shop really has become a focal point of the village. The volunteers all enjoy working there, and the people enjoy coming in for a chat.”
When the post office counter within the shop was threatened with closure in January last year and owners Pat and Rob Gray retired, the villagers formed Humshaugh Community Ventures to buy and run the shop.
Pledges and donations were swiftly forthcoming, and racehorse-owning businessman Graham Wylie, who lives nearby and calls in for his morning Journal each day, promised to support the venture in any way he could.
Steve Robins, who works alongside Dick, decided to make a DVD of the remarkable saga over the passing months – and now that DVD will play a part in the shop’s awards presentation.
Mr Moules said: “Steve’s film will certainly come in very handy now. I asked the organisers if we could use it and they said ‘of course’.
“We knew we had been nominated originally, but to get into the shortlist is a tribute to everyone who has done so much.
“Judging for the regional positions takes place between late November and mid-January, with the results announced towards the end of January.