Family who helped closure threatened Norfolk village shop to thrive are celebrated
- Credit: Nick Butcher
As a popular village shop which dates back 380 years faces an uncertain future, the legacy of the family which played a key role in it has been celebrated.
The future of Itteringham Community Shop looks uncertain after the owners of the building served an eviction notice.
The shop was established in 1637. Since 1994, it has been run by the Itteringham Community Association and a dedicated team of employees and volunteers.
It became one of the first not-for-profit shops to be run by volunteers, but a campaign is now underway to safeguard its future in the face of eviction.Today, a family which has played such a key role in the business were celebrated with the unveiling of a bench outside the Wolterton Road shop.
It recognises the contribution of the Fairhead family, proprietors of the shop from 1908 until 1994 - first under Albert and then by his son Brian.
Members of the Fairhead family were there for the unveiling of the bench, which was paid for by the parish council.
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The ribbon was cut by Gil Stead, from Sheringham, daughter of Brian and Dorothy Fairhead, while her brother Chris Fairhead had travelled from near Bristol.
Mrs Stead said the shop played a key role in the community, stopping isolation and helping to connect people.
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She said: 'It would be such a shame and there would be such a ripple effect if it closed. There's so much local produce in there, so it would have an effect on all of those producers.'
Steven Burbidge, vice-chairman of the committee which runs the shop, said: 'The Fairheads were an absolutely critical part of the shop. Without them, there is every chance the shop would have shut back in 1908.'
The eviction notice means the association has until October 8 to move out.
A number of options are being considered - challenging the eviction in court, moving to a temprorary building in the village hall car park until new premises are ready or closing and reopening when new premises have been found.
Mr Burbidge said: 'It would be a hammer blow to the community if it closed. I and my family have lived here since 2012 and if it wasn't for the shop, I probably wouldn't know many people in the village.
'It's part of the community and you can't put a price on it.'