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Villagers in Monks Eleigh set celebrate 20th anniversary of community shop and post office





Villagers in Monks Eleigh, near Sudbury, are set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of an ‘amazing community effort’.

The Monks Eleigh community shop committee organised the celebration to say thank you to more than 80 volunteers who have helped to keep the shop and post office alive over two decades.

Committee members, volunteers and villagers will be re-enacting the official opening of the shop, in The Street, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.

Margaret and Chris Eames, Alan Line, Patti Derry and John Newton outside the community shop. Picture: Mark Westley
Margaret and Chris Eames, Alan Line, Patti Derry and John Newton outside the community shop. Picture: Mark Westley

Committee chairman Alan Line said: “We will be celebrating this great achievement and commemorating the official opening in March 2004, before moving on to The Swan pub to celebrate 20 years with volunteers past and present.

“I would like to say a massive thank you, on behalf of the local community, to those people who had the foresight to originally see this project through and all those who have helped since. It is an amazing community effort.”

The community shop was launched after the original village shop and post office, in Telegraph House, closed in 2002. It was another blow for the village, which had already lost the Bull pub and Willow Garage.

A year later, residents were celebrating the opening of the new, non-profit-making community shop, plus a sub-post office, in December 2003. The shop had its official launch in early 2004.

It followed fund-raising by villagers to the tune of £6,000, plus grants from Babergh District Council and the parish council, to raise a total of £53,000 – around £100,000 in today’s money.

Mandy Coll, who also worked in the original post office, said: “A huge amount of work and a fantastic community effort made this all possible.”

The shop, which is open every day, sells products including fruit and vegetables, frozen food, snacks, sandwiches, drinks, groceries, greetings cards, stationery and sundries, as well as ice creams, chocolates and confectionery.