The Hexham Courant has launched a campaign celebrating businesses going above and beyond in the community, identifying their special efforts by crowing them Trader of the Week.

And this week, we report on a popular chip shop, which has remained open to ensure customers can still get their fish and chip fix as the country remains in lockdown, due to coronavirus.

Balls of Prudhoe, which is also home to a tearoom, has adapted to the ongoing crisis by offering a delivery and collection service, which has seen queues of five deep descend on the town’s Front Street.

Stevie Blackburn, who runs the business alongside wife Anne, said: “A lot of takeaways in the area have closed, so people are taking advantage of what they can get. Many of our customers are local and would usually either have a takeaway or visit our restaurant.

“We are really just doing what we can to help the community by remaining open,” he added.

The couple, who took over Anne’s family business 21 years ago, were persuaded to do home delivery by their regulars.

“We wanted to still be able to provide meals for our elderly customers, who visit the tearoom weekly, whilst they were self- isolating. When the food is delivered, they are standing at the window waving or blowing kisses. It has been really emotional actually,” said Stevie.

As well as fish and chips, customers can enjoy home-made curries, roast dinners and salads, which are served from Monday to Saturday.

And demand has been overwhelming. Stevie said: “We couldn’t put a number on how many orders we have taken, but we are doing up to 40 deliveries per day and did somewhere between 70 and 80 over the Easter weekend.

“We are just a family business and appreciate the support so much. It has been hard, but our staff have all been amazing, going above and beyond what we could have ever have expected of them and the customers have been so tolerant and understanding too.”

In what has been a testing time for small independent businesses, owner Anne said: “It is a funny time, but is lovely to be able to do something for the community, which has always supported us”.

The Prudhoe couple have also lent a helping hand to key workers by donating sandwiches, quiches and pies to supermarket staff at Asda, in Gateshead, owing to the closure of the supermarket’s restaurant.

Stevie explained: “We were contacted by the retailer and have been delivering supplies every morning for 8am, which has meant we’ve been preparing the food packages from 6am.

“Whilst we have had some initial issues with suppliers, due to social distancing measures and furlough, it is now working well.

“The shop is coming up to 50 years old this November and we hope to be around a bit longer”, Stevie added.

Orders can be made on (01661) 832252.