VILLAGERS celebrated a renovation of the shop they saved for the community.
Halstock Village Shop and Post Office was taken over fully by the community just over a year ago thanks to a £50,000 Big Lottery Fund grant and the funding has helped to give it a facelift.
The new-look shop’s reopening was marked with a celebration that included music, raffles, face painting and free bacon rolls.
A ribbon cutting ceremony to declare the store back open was carried out by Halstock’s oldest resident ‘Granny’ Forward, aged 99, who was assisted by 85-year-old George Geraghty, who has run the Halstock Pot Luck Lunch for more than 20 years.
Mr Geraghty stood in for Stella Workman, Corscombe’s oldest resident at 102 years, who was unable to attend due to ill health.
Chairman of Halstock Community Shop Committee Tony Woodroffe said the community operation dates back to 1989 when residents of Corscombe, Halstock and surrounding villages raised money to set up a small store when the then private owners decided to close.
More money was pumped into the operation as a millennium project.
Mr Woodroffe added: “In December 2012 we were fortunate enough to be awarded a £50,000 grant by the Big Lottery Fund to help with the transition to a Community Shop which enabled us to employ a manager, assistant manager/post mistress and a shop assistant.
“It also provided funds for the complete renovation of the shop including new shelving and refrigeration equipment and re-siting of the post office to a new style ‘open’ counter.
“This has made the shop more spacious and brighter, allowing a greater range of stock to be available.”
Mr Woodroffe said although the weather on the day of the reopening was not the best, it was enjoyed by many residents – as well as several passing cyclists and drivers.
“Entertainment included a violinist and a bagpiper. The skirl of the bagpipes, together with the aroma of free bacon butties, burgers and sausages, which were provided courtesy of several very generous suppliers, brought more villagers to the shop,” he added.