The achievements of a community shop which has been at the heart of village life for five years were celebrated on Saturday.
Market Overton Community Shop started trading on May 15, 2011, and to celebrate the milestone achievement, a marquee was erected opposite the shop on Saturday.
Inside was a board detailing how the shop had come about and evolved, with pictures, as well as a big display of how the shop strives to support local suppliers.
There was also a tasting table, in which many of the speciality products that come from suppliers no further than 20 miles away, were offered for people to sample.
Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan (Con) was the special guest at the celebration, meeting shop volunteers, trustees and visitors, in his first engagement since being re-elected for a sixth term.
Mr Duncan, who was present at the opening of the shop five years ago, also drew the winners of the raffle. Proceeds from the raffle will go towards the shop’s ongoing maintenance programme, which includes a spruce-up of the paintwork.
Chairman of the community shop Geri Stewart said she was delighted with how the anniversary went.
She said: “We were open from 9am to 3pm, I was manning the marquee all that time and there was never a moment when someone wasn’t in there. People were interested to see how the shop had evolved and were happy to chat. They said how much they valued the shop.”
Before Christmas, the shop committee carried out a village survey of the 220 houses in Market Overton. There were 72 responses, of which all were positive.
Mrs Stewart said: “There were some very complimentary comments and it really is a lifeline. We are a village with quite a few elderly people and they need that opportunity to not just pick up items but to see a friendly face.
“The shop is a real part of the community.”
The shop was able to get off the ground by selling shares and with the generosity of some interest free loans from villagers.
Mrs Stewart said she was delighted that all those loans had now been able to be repaid, meaning the shop has a clean book.
She said the shop committee eventually hoped to be making a profit so it could plough the proceeds back into village life, but for the moment, was happy to be breaking even.
The week before the anniversary, the shop committee and shop volunteers celebrated privately.