Village shops vie for national accolades

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Left: Lower Clopton Farm Shop owner, Richard Baldwyn, centre, pictured this week with shop manager, Jackie Phillpotts, and butcher, Steve Williams. (L5/4/16/13). Right: Barford Village Shop is managed by Corenna Jennings, front, pictured with volunteers Tracey Smith, left, and Marion Hancock. (B12/4/16/9). Photos: Mark Williamson.

BARFORD Village Shop and Lower Clopton Farm Shop are among the finalists in the 2015 Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) which will be announced at the House of Lords on 27th April.

The awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage created by small, hard-working businesses.

Barford Village Shop is managed by Corenna Jennings, front, pictured with volunteers Tracey Smith, left, and Marion Hancock. Photo: Mark Williamson. (B12/4/16/9)
Barford Village Shop is managed by Corenna Jennings, front, pictured with volunteers Tracey Smith, left, and Marion Hancock. Photo: Mark Williamson. (B12/4/16/9)

They are public-nomination led across four categories: Local Food — in which Lower Clopton Farm Shop was nominated; Village Shop/Post Office; Butcher and Tourism Enterprise.

Thousands of nominations were received and the judges have selected ten finalists in each category.

Barford Village Shop and Post Office is the “hub of the village” according to one nominator.

As well as a well-stocked shop, run by Corenna Jennings and her team of volunteers, it also boasts an internet café which is popular with village groups, from mums and babies, to knitters and local history enthusiasts.

It has been village-owned and run for seven years and is an integral part of village life.

Lower Clopton Farm Shop, near Stratford and run by Richard

Lower Clopton Farm Shop owner, Richard Baldwyn, centre, pictured this week with shop manager, Jackie Phillpotts, and butcher, Steve Williams. Photo: Mark Williamson (L5/4/16/13).
Lower Clopton Farm Shop owner, Richard Baldwyn, centre, pictured this week with shop manager, Jackie Phillpotts, and butcher, Steve Williams. Photo: Mark Williamson (L5/4/16/13).

and Suzy Baldwyn, is “a delight to visit, to spend time over a cup of local fruit tea and cakes whilst the children amuse themselves in the play area,” wrote one nominator.

The beef, lamb, goose and turkey sold in the shop is from their own farm and 95 per cent of the produce on sale in the shop and café is locally grown and sourced.

They bake their own bread, keep the hens that lay their eggs and sell their own seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Countryside Alliance Awards director, Jill Grieve, said: “The finalists are all exceptional. We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year, so for Barford Village Shop and Lower Clopton Farm Shop to get this far is a huge achievement for them.

“The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services.

“They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. The Barford Village Shop and Lower Clopton Farm Shop staff are very good examples of all that’s best about local businesses.”

Watch this space for news on how they fare.