We have at last waved goodbye to January gloom and are still hearing bright words of praise for the team who put such a huge effort into stocking and staffing our village shop over Christmas and the whole festive season. To quote one of our regular customers, “The shop was chock-a-block with lovely things. We owe you such a lot – you were open when everywhere in the Valley was closed!”  Thank you, Pam!

We in turn owe our customers a great deal. Last year through our charity box we raised over £200 for PAWS Animal Sanctuary. We continue to collect for them of course, and also for St Barnabas, St John’s Primary School and the Cinnamon Trust. Your support for these local charities is hugely appreciated. You may also have noticed a basket full of books either inside or outside the shop, depending on the weather. Originally set up as a “Book Exchange”, the basket is overflowing so do help yourselves until we have space to take more – and please do not bring more than you take. We simply do not have room to store them!

It has been great to see the Post Office, as well as the shop, becoming increasingly busy as more villagers and businesses take advantage of the range of services we can offer, from everyday banking and foreign currency to mail order returns and much more. We are so pleased that the vast majority of our customers wear a mask and continue to respect social distancing, even when queueing. Thank you all – and remember that we do have a supply of fresh masks if you should ever need one.

 Reflecting a national efficiency drive, Angus reports that from 7th February there will only be one Post Office collection per day, at 5pm. And while on the subject of the Post Office, we all wish Helen, our excellent Deputy Manager, the very best of luck as she embarks on her (part-time, thank goodness!) MSc. in Psychology. We are super proud of you, Helen!

February is of course the Month of Love… Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you can rely on your local shop to have everything you need. We have beautiful cards (and humorous ones for those of us past the first flush!), a wide range of chocolates and sweet treats and a great choice of wines, spirits and mixers to help get celebrations off to a good start. A stunning selection of plants for home and garden will also make the occasion special, so make your choice and prepare for a romantic evening. However, if pancakes are more your style we also have all you need for the perfect Mardi Gras batter!

Sadly, one of our volunteers did not start 2022 with good fortune, breaking her wrist and arm in a horrid fall on New Years’ Eve. We wish Sara the very best for her full recovery and thank all the amazing volunteers, old and new, who are stepping in to cover for her. Others, too, have needed support through ill health and are grateful for the willing help that is always forthcoming, including home deliveries and requests for special orders. It is, as always, so reassuring to know that Findon villagers (and a few from further afield) share such impressive community spirit.

The Management Committee, staff and volunteers send you every good wish and trust 2022 will bring you all good health, hope and positive new beginnings.

Annie Whitchurch