SEVEN years ago the village shop at Cheriton Fitzpaine closed.  Last month the new shop that replaced it celebrated its fifth birthday with a cake, balloons and a special visitor.

Peter Holland who had been Headteacher at the school from 1981 for 10 years, was invited back to cut the cake - and meet many of his former pupils and their families.

After the shop closed, public meetings were held, working parties formed, and work began to set up a village shop, with guidance from the Plunkett Foundation, and fundraising began.

Finding a site had been a challenge but then Cheriton Methodist Church offered land beside it.  The shop opened in May 2018 with Kevin Boddy as shop manager and a band of volunteer staff.

As much as possible, local goods are on the shelves.  The shop offers newspapers, stamps, cards including local scenes painted by a local artist, fresh vegetables, frozen food, local honey and cheeses and much, much more plus every day essentials such as luxury chocolate or washing up liquid. 

There are pies from Bradworthy, Little Emlett apple juice from Black Dog, honey from maybe six miles away, yoghurt from Okehampton and much more with not a lot of food miles.

Before he cut the cake with its figure five on top in Smarties, Peter remarked on what a fantastic shop it was and how this was such an important facility for rural communities.

“These and the farming communities of Cheriton Fitzpaine and Mid Devon, are the backbone of England,” he added, praising the amount of local produce sold at the shop.

Peter was Lord Mayor of Exeter from 2019 to 2021 and has lived in Exeter for more than 40 years.  The shop is open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 4.30pm, on Saturdays from 9am to 12.30pm and closed on Sundays.