BROMPTON Ralph Stores and Post Office has reached the regional finals of the 2009 Countryside Alliance Awards.

The awards mark rural excellence in a number of ways and this year more than 2,300 nominations were received.

Brompton Ralph is the smallest village in the country to have a community-owned shop.

Ten years ago, the shop was about to close because the previous owners wanted to retire.

The community came together, raised enough money to buy the stock and have been running the shop ever since.

The regional awards will be judged next month, with the results published just before Christmas.

If the shop is successful it will go forward to the national finals, with the results announced in the House of Lords in early February.

Nick Moore of the shop’s management committee said: “We are absolutely delighted.

“It is a recognition of the really valuable contribution that the shop makes to the village and is testimony to the hard work of Jim Treadaway, the shop manager, his team of volunteers and the community of Brompton Ralph.

“The community is central to the work of the shop and the shop is central to the life of the village.”