Awards go to the newsagents at the heart of local life

NRFN Retail Awards 2011 at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Friday 21st October 2011. Ken Sim (right) presents The News of Portsmouth Award for Newsagent of the Year runner up to Peter, Trudie and Paul Richards of Richards News in Fareham.''Picture 19: Left to right, Peter Richards, Trudy Richards and Paul Richards (crop Ken Sim again!)
NRFN Retail Awards 2011 at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Friday 21st October 2011. Ken Sim (right) presents The News of Portsmouth Award for Newsagent of the Year runner up to Peter, Trudie and Paul Richards of Richards News in Fareham.''Picture 19: Left to right, Peter Richards, Trudy Richards and Paul Richards (crop Ken Sim again!)
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NEWSAGENTS who go the extra mile to help their customers received awards at a glittering ceremony backed by The News.

We asked readers to nominate their favourite newsagent shop and tell us why they liked it so much

NRFN Retail Awards 2011 at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Friday 21st October 2011. Ken Sim (right) presents The News of Portsmouth Award for Newsagent of the Year to Nick and Caroline Keys with Charlotte Flood and Rob Haylen of Highfield News in Waterlooville.''News readers were asked to tell us why their favourite newsagent was the best.  Dozens of nominations were received and the winner and runner-up were selected by a panel of judges.''For the second year running Nick and Caroline Keys of Keys News Highfield in Waterlooville received the award for Regional Newsagent of the Year. They received a framed certificate and �100 in shopping vouchers.''Picture 22: Left to right, Nick Keys, Caroline Keys, Charlotte Flood and Robert Aylen (crop Ken Sim!)

NRFN Retail Awards 2011 at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Friday 21st October 2011. Ken Sim (right) presents The News of Portsmouth Award for Newsagent of the Year to Nick and Caroline Keys with Charlotte Flood and Rob Haylen of Highfield News in Waterlooville.''News readers were asked to tell us why their favourite newsagent was the best. Dozens of nominations were received and the winner and runner-up were selected by a panel of judges.''For the second year running Nick and Caroline Keys of Keys News Highfield in Waterlooville received the award for Regional Newsagent of the Year. They received a framed certificate and �100 in shopping vouchers.''Picture 22: Left to right, Nick Keys, Caroline Keys, Charlotte Flood and Robert Aylen (crop Ken Sim!)

Nominations for the event – the Retail Excellence Awards of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, South East Region – came in thick and fast.

Nominees then gathered at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton to find out if they had won.

Of particular interest was the Regional Newsagent of the Year category, which is sponsored by The News.

Amid stiff competition, Keys News Highfield in Highfield Parade, Waterlooville, won the top spot after being chosen by a panel of judges.

The shop is run by Nick and Caroline Keys – as well as Nick’s mother Margaret Keys who helped start the family business in 1959.

Mr Keys, a 49-year-old dad-of-two, said: ‘It’s wonderful. We are over the moon about it.

‘We try to do our best to keep everyone happy.’

Making their shop much more than just a retail establishment, the family organise days out for their customers and provide deliveries to elderly people who cannot get out.

A few months ago the family presented a cheque of £2,500 to The Elizabeth Foundation, a charity based in Cosham that helps deaf children.

The money was raised by fundraising events, including coach trips for customers.

It is the second year running the Keys family have won and they received a framed certificate and £100 in shopping vouchers.

A worthy runner-up was Richards News in Anjou Crescent, Fareham. The friendly shop is run by Trudie and Paul Richards and their son Peter.

Mr Richards, 49, said: ‘The customers voted for us which makes it more special.

‘Being a family-run business, it’s almost like a community shop.’

Ken Sim, The News’ newspaper sales director, said: ‘This really is the public’s award.

‘We received dozens of nominations and these two really stood out as examples of businesses at the heart of their local community.’