A MEMBER of a historic growing family teamed up with a 92-year-old war veteran to open the doors of Bretforton’s new community shop.
Bretforton asparagus grower Billy Byrd, whose family have lived in the area for seven hundred years was on hand for the ceremony on Saturday (December 13).
He was joined by 92 year-old Sid Cleaver, a lifelong Bretforton resident who served as a Spitfire pilot during the war, to jointly cut the ribbon and declare the shop open.
Ahead of the opening, the new shop was blessed by the Rev Richard Court while a large crowd of shop members, village residents and supporters were treated to music from Bretforton Silver Band and dancing from Pebworth Morris Men while enjoying mulled wine and mince pies.
Bretforton Community Shop is a community-inspired and owned venture that has been brought into existence over the past 19 months by a group of hard-working volunteers determined to restore a shop and meeting place in the village following the
closure of the last shop in 2013.
“This is a great day for the local community, said shop chairman Chris Buckham.
“I have been overwhelmed and touched by the way everyone has contributed and supported the project.
“The fact that over half the households in the village are shareholders and owners is testimony to how much the village wanted their shop back.” he added.
The ambitious project was initially brought to life after sponsorship by Bretforton Parish Council and also won support from
the Plunkett Foundation, which supports rural communities and community enterprises.
A huge slice of funding for the scheme was raised from a very successful community share issue which provided the springboard for the award of grants from the Big Lottery Fund, Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council and
Rooftop Housing Group.
In addition, local charities the Hilda Farr Trust and the Percy Lea Trust were generous in their support.
A variety of local businesses and tradespeople provided their services and skills free of charge or at cost to build and fit out the new shop.
Located at Bretforton Community Social Club on New Street, the shop is largely run by volunteers. It stocks a wide range of commonly needed items to suit every pocket, with a strong emphasis on local produce.
“The coffee shop and café is already providing a meeting place for all.” said Mr Buckham.
“We hope that our shop will rapidly become a hub of village life and all those involved are looking forward to a bright future.”
The shop can be contacted on e-mail at [email protected], followed on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/BretCommunityShop or Twitter @BretShop.
Bretforton Community Shop is open between 7.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and from 9am to 1pm on Sunday.
Members of the community turned out in force at the opening on Saturday (December 13). Picture by Kieran Hunt
Bretforton Community Shop. Picture by Kieran Hunt