Major General Ashley Truluck, who ends his term of office this week, presented awards for services to the community to Heals of Malmesbury and Minety Shop. The High Sheriff, who is also chairman of Wiltshire Community Foundation, heard about The groups after they were both funded by its Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund.
Villagers in Minety have been campaigning for their own store for more than three years and when the county went into lockdown last March, the committee behind the campaign set up a pop-up shop outside the village school.
It was so successful the village hall committee agreed to let it move into the committee room at the back of the hall.
Minety village shop
The shop was given £1,200 from the coronavirus fund to help it keep going.
The Minety Village hall is now the permanent home of the shop, which is open seven days a week.
Committee chairman Tracey Smith said the shop is expanding its services all the time and there are plans to extend the hall to open a café.
At a virtual award ceremony attended by shop volunteers, the High Sheriff said: “I’m delighted to present this award because This is a marvellous initiative that has helped the village greatly.
“The people would otherwise have to travel to Cirencester or Malmesbury to buy basic groceries and from my involvement with my own village store in Broad Chalke I know how important it is.
“Speaking with my community foundation hat on, we are tickled pink that the money we gave you, which was really by way of priming the pump, set the shop on its way and really got it motoring.”
HEALS of Malmesbury
Mrs Smith said: “The grant gave us the confidence to carry on.
“We are very, very grateful for the award on behalf of everyone who has been involved with the shop. It will be up on the wall with pride.”
Community support group Heals worked with The Calcot Manor Hotel and Spa and The Red Bull pub to deliver almost 5,000 meals to isolated elderly people and low income families in Malmesbury and Sherston.
The group, which was awarded £10,000 towards its costs from the community foundation’s coronavirus fund, has also been doing shopping errands, prescription deliveries, organising activities for young people, making befriending phone calls, providing debt advice and supplying laptops for pupils in low income families.