A local community was celebrating the news it had saved its village shop from closure.

Last year, Slaley residents launched a share offer scheme, forming the co-operative group Slaley Community Shop Limited, to prevent the closure of their much-loved village store and community hub.

Villagers were invited to invest in the project to raise enough money to buy the shop from long-term owners Roy and Margaret Ward, who retired in April 2017 having ran the shop for 50 years.

It was agreed the business could be bought within three years at the cost of £200,000, minus the rent accumulated over that period, as locals took over the daily running of the shop.

And after months of hard work, the community has accumulated enough money to secure the popular shops future.

Community director Helen Savage said: “Slaley Shop serves as a much-loved and highly effective community hub and meeting place.

“As well as supplying all the basic needs expected of a village convenience store and newsagent, it makes a special effort to support at least a dozen local business by providing an outlet for their produce too.

“So we are delighted to have, at last, become formal owners of the shop. Slaley is truly a community in the very best sense.”

And Slaley Community Shop Ltd chairman, Norman Watson, said: “We are extremely pleased, it is a bit of good news in these terrible times.

“We look forward to having a village shop in Slaley forever now, as well as The Rose and Crown pub, another successful community venture.”

The shop, run by volunteers, is working hard to stay open throughout the present coronavirus crisis, albeit with slightly reduced hours.