End of an era as village shop says bye for last time

END OF AN ERA Lawrence Raffle at Denmead Village News, which is closing
END OF AN ERA Lawrence Raffle at Denmead Village News, which is closing

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IT’S been at the centre of village life for as long as anyone can remember.

But, after many decades as the place to go for a natter and a gossip, Denmead Village News will be shutting its doors for the final time at the end of the month.

The newsagents has been in its current location in Hambledon Road for two decades, but was further up the road under the same name for several generations before that.

Lawrence Raffle who has worked behind the counter since he was a teenager, is certainly going to miss talking with the locals.

The 25-year-old, who got the job after his dad had a chat with the newsagents’ owner at the pub, said: ‘It’s the hub of the village.

‘People like coming in here having a chat. We try to make people smile.’

Owner Ellen Hunton has run the shop for the past 16 years, but decided to stop so she can spend more time with her family in Australia and New Zealand.

Ellen used to live in Petersfield but decided to take on the shop in the late 90s.

‘It was completely out of the blue,’ said Ellen, 64, who lives above the shop floor.

‘I saw it advertised. I looked at the village, looked at the people around. I sat around at different times and watched and just thought it felt right.

‘I didn’t know Denmead, but I have been very happy.

‘It’s the people that have made it. I have watched all the children grow up. It’s very sad, but it’s a decision I had to take.’

People in Denmead will still be able to buy their newspapers at the Co-op shops. Ellen said her regulars made a point of shopping at the Co-op and her store to support local traders.

Customer Caroline Holbert, of Cottage Close, Denmead, said: ‘I’m devastated. It’s the hub of the village to have your paper shop. It’s a real shame.’

Racheal Emery, 35, a barber at Gino’s in Denmead, said: ‘Lawrence and Ellen are just lovely. It’s where the village feel comes from and it will be a big loss.’

No offers to buy the business have so far come in.