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One of Britain's oldest stores wins double award

PUBLISHED: 11:56 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 08 November 2019

Nigel Harrison and Gil Stead of Itteringham Community Shop. Pic: Jason Bye

Nigel Harrison and Gil Stead of Itteringham Community Shop. Pic: Jason Bye

A village shop which has been running since 1637 has been named as one of the best rural businesses in the country.

Brian Fairhead ran Itteringham village shop with his wife Dorothy from 1946 until 1994, taking over from his father Albert. Picture: Neil DidsburyBrian Fairhead ran Itteringham village shop with his wife Dorothy from 1946 until 1994, taking over from his father Albert. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Itteringham Community Shop, near Aylsham, was named best Retail Rural Business and Best Rural Social Enterprise/Charity/Community Project at the regional finals of the Rural Business Awards held at Trinity Park, Ipswich. It will now go on to represent the eastern region at the national final next February.

There has been a shop in Itteringham since 1637 and this month marks its 25th anniversary of community ownership.

Owners Brian and Dorothy Fairhead ran the shop from 1946 until 1994, taking over from Mr Fairhead's father Albert. But when Brian became terminally ill, the volunteer-based association was formed. A rota of managers run the store with other volunteers and the shop was saved again from closure in 2017 when North Norfolk District Council bought the property.

Incredibly, over a quarter of a century, the community organisation has kept the shop going and earlier this year agreed a long lease with the council. They focus on stocking goods and produce from local suppliers and last month ran a pop-up restaurant serving curries with rice, naan bread and poppadoms.

Itteringham Village Shop was established in 1637 making it the fourth oldest shop in Britain. Picture: Neil DidsburyItteringham Village Shop was established in 1637 making it the fourth oldest shop in Britain. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Accepting the award with Nigel Harrison from the shop was Gil Stead, Brian Fairhead's daughter and granddaughter of Albert Fairhead who ran the shop from 1908 to 1994.

Mrs Fairhead who served the villagers of Itteringham for more than 55 years, dated September 22, 1994. Photo: Archant LibraryMrs Fairhead who served the villagers of Itteringham for more than 55 years, dated September 22, 1994. Photo: Archant Library

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