I start this month’s contribution with “final words”, as fellow volunteer Jean Burden has kindly agreed to take on the task of writing the shop’s article for the excellent Findon News, something that I hope she will enjoy as much as I have. But before signing off, in response to those who have asked what QAVS is and why it is so significant, a few words of explanation: The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is an Honour intended for groups, and is of equal rank with the MBE for individuals. For the Honour to be approved, a group must be led by volunteers, have been running for a minimum of three years and exist solely for the benefit of their local community. The confidential and rigorous process of nomination, reporting, research, interviews and investigations by local representatives of the Queen goes through several stages and there are no guarantees that nominations will be successful. We were therefore absolutely thrilled when it was announced in June that Findon Village Store had been recognised in this way and hope you will join us in the Village Hall on 17th October when the Award will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex.

Thank you, Annie, for all your contributions. You’re a tough act to follow!

Roll on the drums, please!  It’s the fifth anniversary of the shop’s opening this month.  On 28th October 2017, after five months of feverish activity, Findon Village Store tentatively opened its doors to the public.  And it hasn’t looked back!  During the time it has been open, the shop has become an intrinsic part of village life, bringing more business and visitors to this beautiful area, and becoming known as a hub where there is always a friendly smile and a cheery greeting.

Talking of focal points, the wonderful creations that increasingly sit atop the post box outside the shop, are a real draw.  Producing them is no mean feat – the diameter of the top of the post box measures a mere metre!  It must be one of the largest in the country.  The crocheted pastoral scene of a shepherdess and her sheep, which adorned the box to highlight the Sheep Fair, has been replaced by the crown as a memorial to our late queen Elizabeth.  And, who knows, there may be plans for more displays in the coming months.  (No pressure, ladies!)  A good reason for visiting the shop, in case you needed one.

The shop’s buyers are always looking around for new items to stock, especially if it is locally produced, and this month we are pleased to announce that there is a new selection of beers from the award-winning Firebrand brewery in Rudgwick, near Horsham.  ‘Pacific Gem’ is a pale ale, with a pronounced bitterness and signature aroma of berry fruits, ‘Heritage Sussex Best’ is developed from a recipe passed down five generations of the proprietor’s family, while ‘Festive 51’ is an updated version of a beer created for the Festival of Britain in 1951.  Interesting, and definitely worth a snifter!      

Hallowe’en is approaching, and the shop will be stocking some extra bits and pieces to get you into the mood.  Keep your eyes glued.

We apologise for the late delivery of newspapers several days in September.  They only arrived in the shop after 1pm.

Just a couple of things that may have escaped your attention.  Postal strikes are planned for Friday 30th September and Saturday 1st October.  And, if you are lucky enough to possess any £20 or £50 notes, the old paper notes will no longer be accepted as a form of payment as from 30th September.     

And finally, a gentle reminder to sign up for the QAVS before 17th. There is a statutory limit on numbers, so please contact Anne Colville sooner rather than later if you would like to attend.

Annie Whitchurch and Jean Burden