A FAMILY business has been going the extra mile to support its local community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Claire’s Newsagents in Haydon Bridge has provided a lifeline for residents in need of vital supplies, and even invested in a transit-style van to carry out daily deliveries to elderly and vulnerable customers during lockdown.

Even in late July, with lockdown restrictions considerably eased, deliveries continue to form a key part of the businesses.

For while Claire Marshall’s newsagents sells newspapers and magazines, it’s far more than just a newsagent. It’s a one-stop shop, a convenience store for fresh groceries and dairy products, as well as other everyday essentials.

“We just want to do our bit for the people of the village,” said Claire, who is supported by her mum Jackie, as well as other family members, and shop assistant Freda Reed, who has served for over 20 years.

“We realised during lockdown that there was a need for a delivery service, and also demand for us to get more products into the shop.”

During a time when the public were panic buying, Claire managed to source much sought after essentials such as toilet rolls, pasta and flour.

In addition, there are now fully-stocked fruit and vegetable stands outside the shop, which have also proved popular.

“People told us what they needed,” said Claire, "and we used our suppliers, who are predominantly local or family run businesses themselves, to source them.

“The time of panic buying is over, but the new additions are still popular, and I like to think we complement what other businesses in the village offer.”

The shop has been a success story for Claire and her family. They moved into the store, on Church Street, 13 years ago, following the retirement of long-serving newsagents John and Maureen Clark.

While it was already known for selling a wide range of products, from children’s fishing nets to stationary equipment, the Marshalls extended it to become a convenience store.

The store was once part of the Mace chain of convenience stores, but is now entirely independent.

Claire said the family was looking to sell the premises, because her parents were due a long-awaited retirement, while Claire wanted to go travelling and pursue other projects.

She added: “This is a great opportunity for the right people, so long as they are prepared to put the work in. Being a newsagent, I am can be here from 4.45am to 6pm.