4am starts and paper rounds - how shopkeeper earned a nod from the Queen

Jo Foulger who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work at the Cringleford Stores duri

Jo Foulger who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work at the Cringleford Stores during lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

With her alarm set for 4am every day, there is no time for snoozing for 39-year-old shopkeeper Jo Foulger.

Each day she arrives at Cringleford Stores at 4.30am and sets out sorting delivering more than 60 newspapers around the village, before returning by 7am to work a normal day at the shop.

And during the height of the lockdowns, she pushed herself even further, going above and beyond to help her community through the pandemic, dedicating herself to making sure as many people in the village as possible could access the essentials they needed no matter how vulnerable they were.

Jo Foulger who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work at the Cringleford Stores duri

Jo Foulger who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work at the Cringleford Stores during Lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

And it was this dedication that saw her recognised for her efforts with a British Empire Medal, which she is set to receive later this year.

While most of us may not rise until much later, Mrs Fougler, who runs Cringeford Stores on Intwood Road, will beat the sun up every morning.


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She then travels from her home in Keswick to the shop by 4.30am, where she sorts out the morning's newspapers before delivering them herself.

Even on a normal day she would not be home until the late afternoon, but the pandemic saw the demands on her suddenly grow exponentially.

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She said: "I'm just not the kind of person that can say no to people, I just want to help everyone, so that's what I did.

"While bigger shops did stay open, we found a lot of people didn't fancy going to them because they were worried about being around others, so they would come to us.

"It was quite crazy really."

The Cringleford Stores and the Cutting Post hairdressers, where the road parking outside the stores

The Cringleford Stores and the Cutting Post hairdressers, where the road parking outside the stores is being reduced to two parking places. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

And once she shut up shop at 4pm, so would spend the next few hours delivering medication and groceries to vulnerable people around the village, before returning home more than 13 hours after she left to look after her two children Liam, 15, and George, 11, and care for her husband Terry, who had fallen ill.

She added: "I initially thought it was a scam when the cabinet office contacted me to tell me about the British Empire Medal, so I was naturally shocked when I found out it was for real."


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