THE SHOP at the heart of a South Somerset village has taken on a central role as the community rallies around in the virus crisis.

In 2006, the owner of Thorncombe’s only shop announced plans to retire and put the building up for sale, sparking a village-wide effort to save their facility.

After three years of hard work, graft and grants, on October 17, 2009, the parish council and community welcomed the opening of new shop to Thorncombe.

Now, the community has stepped up again.

Anne Johnson-Rooks, chairman of Thorncombe Village Shop Management Committee, said: “In these unsettling times, it is comforting to draw attention to the kinder side of humanity.

“Thorncombe was one of the first communities to come together to form a support group to help its residents in the face of Covid-19.

“A group of public spirited parishioners have been assisting residents in a number of ways, and many more volunteers have come forward to keep our shop in Chard Street running.”

Without the community store, Thorncombe residents would be more than five miles from the nearest supermarket.

Anne added: “Quite a few of our existing shop volunteers are of a certain age. Some have self-isolated, and therefore training has been put in place for these new, younger volunteers.

“They take orders for delivery or collection, man the till, and work with the coronavirus support group to answer cries for help in collecting prescriptions and other items from further afield.”

The shop also continues selling Saturday morning takeaway bacon baps, while observing social distancing rules.

“We are so grateful to have these wonderful people in our village - thank you all of you,” said Anne.