A VOLUNTEER who helped launch the Hampstead Norreys Community Shop has been shortlisted for an award.
Mary Dennis helped to establish the shop after the previous village stores closed in the late 1990s.
Thanks to her efforts, the community shop opened six years ago and continues to thrive.
She has been recognised by making it through to the finals of the People’s Choice Award and on December 6 will travel to the awards ceremony in London to find out if she is the winner.
“The very fact that I am in the last three makes me feel like a winner already,” she said.
“It took four years of hard work by myself, Avril Mason and Pamela Betts to work out how to run the shop.
“We travelled to a number of community shops to see how they were doing things and used that information to help us set up our shop.
“Once we were up and running, I was the part-time manager for a short time before becoming an unpaid volunteer.
“It’s lovely to see the shop is still doing so well.
“It really is less of a shop and more of a meeting place. On Monday’s we have a ‘Meet and Eat’ morning and people can pop in for a cup of tea or just for a chat.”
Mary, 72, who lives with her husband Michael in the village, not only finds time to help out in the shop, she also serves the teas at the cricket club, is wardrobe mistress for the village theatre group and is a member of the Horticultural Society and the village handbell group.
Fellow launch partner, Avril Mason, said she was not surprised to learn her friend was shortlisted.
Ms Mason said: “She is a wonderful woman.
“So unassuming, but is always there to help everyone.
“She really is the village stalwart.”
The People’s Choice Award is run by the Plunkett Foundation, which supports people and organisations in rural areas.
To vote for Mary, go to www.plunkett.co.uk/community-shops
Voting closes at 5pm next Monday, November 27.