A GROUP of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep the village shop running have received royal recognition.

One year ago, Norley Village Stores was struggling to remain open due to lease problems and personal circumstances of the shop's owners.

Within weeks of closure, a village meeting was held to find a way to save it, with so many locals attending that there was only standing room in the church.

It was decided that willing volunteers would help out in the store, which has since gone from strength to strength and has become viable again.

It has also played a vital role in keeping the local community going, with it facing a massive increase in demand for essential items in short supply.

Its task was made even harder after several loyal volunteers were forced to shield themselves from coronavirus.

Despite this, more volunteers came forward and the shop’s owner, Dave Gee, has put in extra-long hours to ensure that fresh fruit, vegetables and groceries continue to be available.

Volunteers have been resolute in their efforts to replenish shelves, work on the checkout, clean the store and help to put orders together, while others have been delivering the orders for village’s vulnerable.

This hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed however, with the volunteers recently receiving a letter from David Briggs MBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, on behalf of The Queen.

Northwich Guardian:

The letter reads: “I write as The Queen’s representative in Cheshire on her behalf, to thank each of you for the outstanding work you have been doing at Norley Stores during the current emergency.

“I was particularly pleased to hear about the delivery service you are providing to older people in your community who are self-isolating, as well as your vital work in keeping the village shop open.

“In Her Majesty’s recent speech, she said: ‘I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they respond to this challenge’.

“You should each take great pride in what you have done and what you continue to do to help some of the most needy people in our community.”

And the gesture was much-appreciated by the 30-plus locals who put their life and soul into the shop each year

“We don’t know who contacted the Lord Lieutenant to tell them about us and it remains a mystery,” said volunteer Mel Mountney.

“It was quite emotional to receive the letter as it’s not something that you expect.

“But everybody was pleased to receive the accolade and it certainly made us feel special and very proud of the whole team.”