A DEDICATED family fruit and vegetable business has been praised for delivering essential supplies during lockdown.

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.

This week, we are shining a light on Jennings Fruit and Vegetable greengrocers who are serving residents of the North Tyne and Redesdale during lockdown.

Located on Bellingham Front Street, the greengrocers stall opposite the Cheviot Hotel has provided a local link for residents in need of essential food supplies.

The business has also adopted a delivery service, sending produce to Wark, Falstone, Byrness, Rochester, Otterburn, Elsdon and Kirkwhelpington.

George Jennings explained: “The delivery service came about at the start of the lockdown.

“We thought we would do a good deed and supply folks who are trapped in their homes for 12 weeks.”

George’s daughter Jacqui Jennings, who is also a member of the team, put an appeal out on Facebook inquiring whether residents would be interested in the delivery service.

“Then all of a sudden it’s 40 to 50 orders a day,” George said. “But we’re doing a good job of it despite it being a lot of work.”

The family business, which also includes Shirley Jennings, has been in Bellingham for up to nine years after moving from Otterburn Mill.

Increased demand in produce from suppliers and residents has seen the family work around the clock to satisfy its customers.

George explained: “It’s not too bad because it’s what we have done all our life – getting up early in the morning, working to try and please everybody.

“It’s hard to do it, but we get there in the end. We’re getting some great sleep.”

During the Government-introduced lockdown restriction in March, local businesses have experienced an influx of new customers who have steered away from larger stores.

George said: “It’s really important that people continue to support local businesses after the lockdown is lifted.

“We have seen our sales go up, but as we know, when things go back to normal people are likely to start shopping in the big stores again.”

The success of Jennings greengrocers over the years is down to the “quality and freshness” of produce, George said.

He added: “We go to the market at Team Valley, Gateshead, every day and we’re always stocked up with fresh produce. You can definitely tell the difference

“We grow produce ourselves at home including spinach, potatoes and leeks. That has all proved to be a big hit with customers.”

Residents can arrange for a delivery by calling 07497 583309 or visit: https://www.facebook.com/jenningsfruitandveg/.