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Community shop makes finals of Rural Oscars, after facing closure

PUBLISHED: 11:52 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:52 08 December 2017

North Norfolk District Council members and Itteringham Community Association members celebrate saving the shop in October. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

North Norfolk District Council members and Itteringham Community Association members celebrate saving the shop in October. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A community shop that was saved from closure earlier this year has made it through to the finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the Rural Oscars.

Iterringham shop was bought by North Norfolk District Council earlier in the year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Iterringham shop was bought by North Norfolk District Council earlier in the year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Itteringham Village shop, near Aylsham, was due to close in October after the landlords of the property served a legal notice, giving six months to vacate the premises.

But in September, after a successful campaign, the village shop and adjacent Fair Meadow House were bought by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and the shop was saved for the future.

The shop, which dates back 380 years, was taken over by the Itteringham Community Association in 1994, and its volunteer group is now running Fair Meadow House as a holiday letting with the annual earnings going back to NNDC as a return on its investment.

A spokesman for the shop said on Twitter: “Wahoo! Delighted to announce @ItteringhamShop has reached the finals in the Countryside Alliance Award - village shop/ post office category. The awards received over 11,000 nominations this year - we have done extremely well to be shortlisted. Next, a visit by the judges.”

Thousands of nominations were submitted for the awards, now in their 13th year, honouring the skills and produce, tradition, enterprise and the people who go the extra mile for their communities.

From thousands of nominations seven regional champions, from five categories, will be invited to Parliament for the British finals, and in the presence of MPs and Ministers just five will be crowned British Champions.

Itteringham village shop faces seven other nominees from the East of England in its category. Regional champions will be announced in March and they then advance to the British final, which will be held in April at the House of Lords.

Countryside Alliance Awards director Sarah Lee said: “This has been a record year for nominations, showing how much the public values and supports our hard-working rural businessmen and women. For these finalists to get this far is already an exceptional achievement.”

The four other categories are Local Food & Drink, Butcher, Rural Enterprise, and Pub, which is new this year.

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