St Mary Bourne held a Village Weekend, comprising a wide range of attractions, all in aid of the Village Community Shop.
These included a Working Steam Engine Display, an Art Exhibition and Historic Photographic Display, a traditional Blacksmith at Work and a display of Vintage and Classic Cars.
At 3pm on the Saturday, Sir George formally opened the Village Shop - which had in fact been trading since the previous Monday. He is with the Chairman of the Management Committee, Rod Sutcliffe.
(Extract from Souvenir Programme)
ST MARY BOURNE VILLAGE SHOP
In the 1960's there were at least four shops serving the communities of St Mary Bourne, Stoke and the local hamlets. They have all closed over the years with the final survivor, the St Mary Boume Shop and Post Office, ceasing trading in 1998. Since then, the village has been lucky in that the the Post Office has been maintained in a resident's garage.
The Post Office is essential to our rural community with over 100 people collecting benefits each week. A shop supplying goods and the needs of local residents will become a key feature in the village as a social centre selling essential goods, hopefully including fresh foods and local produce. The chosen location beside the Village Centre complex and the Recreational area will, undoubtedly, add to its attraction. It is hoped that it will he able to exploit the potential for offering communication services such as email and intemet shopping to those residents who do not have their own connections and who do not want to travel out of the village. The Shop will be open from early until late, selling newspapers and serving those who have to leave the village early for work and return late each day.
Unfortunately, despite much hard work and considerable delays, the Lottery grant which had been applied for was refused. However, Basingstoke and Deane Council have stepped into the breach and are providing the extra funding required so that work can commence. This assistance has been very much appreciated. The St Mary Bourne Shop and Post Office is a community project having been financed, most generously, by local people in partnership with both the Parish and Borough Councils. Staffing will he provided by local volunteers and any surplus of income over expenditure will either be retained to improve the shop and its business or allocated to other local enterprises and causes.
It is essential that the Shop business is well supported by local residents even if, at the beginning,
some of the prices are not as attractive as those in the supermarkets. However, the more the Shop is
used the more the pricing can be competitive. We are sure that a successful Shop will become another very valuable asset in the centre of our active village.
Hopefully the Shop will be completed, and might even be trading, before the Village Weekend.