The recent bad weather and of course the pandemic has proven that local shops which provide us with our essentials have never been more important, especially in rural villages.

Every week, the Courant acknowledges local businesses which have gone the extra mile to help their communities throughout the pandemic.

This week’s recipient is The Border Reiver Café and Shop, which has been ran by Gordon and Joanne Moore for almost 20 years.

The Otterburn shop has a large selection of items, stocking everything from groceries to stationary and hardware. The pair try and stock as much local produce as possible.

"March was a very challenging month for us," Gordon said, who didn’t have a day off for 100 days at the start of the pandemic.

Ensuring the stocks were shelved amid panic buying at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, they borrowed a van from The First & Last Brewery, in Elsdon, and went out every day to visit cash and carry’s.

Joanne said: "As soon as panic buying started, we immediately restricted items."

The only item they ever ran out of and couldn’t get a hold of was paracetamol, she said.

The Border Reiver arranged grocery delivery for people who are self-isolating in the Redesdale Valley, which is still available.

"It has been a very challenging 12 months but we are lucky that our business is open," Gordon said.

"The team has worked incredibly hard."

"The Border Reiver always keeps going," he added.

Many local shops in rural villages are at the centre of their communities.

Gordon said the shop sees the bulk of Otterburn’s residents, whether that is on a daily or weekly basis.

As well as providing locals with their groceries, Gordon and Joanne said they feel a responsibility to look out for people in the community.

Joanne said: "People are getting worn down."

"We are trying to keep an eye on people without becoming intrusive," Gordon added.

The Border Reiver also has a café, and whilst it is currently closed due to lockdown restrictions, they do serve takeaways.

They bought a pizza oven and now do weekly 'Pizza Friday's', which are proving very popular, selling out last Friday.

"It’s a bit like groundhog day at the moment," Gordon said.

"We can’t go out for a meal or for a drink so just to have a takeaway is the highlight of many people’s week."

Last year, the Border Reiver received a Small Business Award from Hexham MP Guy Opperman.

"It was completely unexpected," Gordon said.

"It is always nice to be rewarded but that is not why we do it, we like to provide a service to our local community and people passing through."