Village shop open again after more than a year

Adam LazzariA village shop finally re-opened yesterday after shutting its doors for more than a year following a ram raid.Adam Lazzari

A village shop finally re-opened yesterday after shutting its doors for more than a year following a ram raid.

Stuart Butcher, 35, who runs the Lyng Stores with his partner Helen Tuttle, 27, said the 17-month closure has been caused by insurance delays but they were determined to prove that the burglars had not won.

It had been a major inconvenience for people in Lyng as it is the only shop in the village and some regularly travelled more than six miles to Dereham to get their groceries.

There was even bizarre poster campaign when a year to the day after its closure posters appeared on the shop and throughout the village saying, 'Let us in, we want to spend money' and, 'One year on, give us back our shop.'

But the shop's owners, customers and staff expressed joy at yesterday's re-opening.

Mr Butcher said: 'We wanted to open a lot sooner than this and we have had to work very hard and go through a lot of stress to get the place open again.

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'But the whole time we didn't want the people who robbed our shop to think they'd won. We've increased security to prevent this from happening again.'

He added: 'It's been great to see our old customers again. Most people have been very supportive during the closure.

'There have been some very nice comments today and some people have even given us cards with good luck messages in them.

'It's the customers who have really suffered as this shop is the hub of the village. Elderly people who find it difficult to get around have suffered the most.'

Miss Tuttle said: 'We've given the place a bit of a refurbishment and we've had balloons up and have been handing out free glasses of wine and soft drinks to mark the occasion.

'It's such a relief to be able to open again after all we've been through and its's great to see the customers and staff again, who have stayed with us.'

Angela Cornwell, 65, and her husband Michael, 67, had both worked at Lyng Stores for a year before it closed and both still work there.

Sue Purse and her daughter Sarah and Mr Butcher's mother Margaret Butcher, who all worked at Lyng Stores before the closure, will all also return to work there.

Mrs Cornwell said: 'I've not even looked for another job as I really love working here and it's been worth the wait to come back.'

Iris Munns, 67, who lives in Lyng, said: 'It's been wonderful to come back in here to pick up my newspaper again and the place is looking great.

'It's been a pain for me having to travel to Dereham to get my shopping and I expect that most people in Lyng will be really please to see it open again.'

The Lyng Stores Post Office, which was raided in January 2009, is expected to re-open within the next month.