TWO village shops have been shortlisted for ‘rural Oscars’.

The Countryside Alliance awards celebrate British food & farming, enterprise and heritage through small hard-working businesses and has shortlisted the Alfrick and Lulsley Community Shop and The Shop in Crowle as two of the four midlands finalists.

Cafe manager at The Alfrick and Lulsley Shop, Claire Kielstra, said it was an “honour” to be nominated for the award.

“We were incredibly pleased and honoured to be recognised for the award” she said.

“But it doesn’t really come as much surprise as it is such a wonderful place.

“Alfrick doesn’t have a pub so the shop has become a hub for the whole community. It’s the perfect spot for walkers and cyclists to come and it’s a great place to come and meet new people and bring people together.

Meanwhile, The Shop in Crowle was delighted to be nominated.

Chairman Steven Denne was overjoyed with the accolade and paid tribute to the volunteers who go the “extra-mile” for the business.

“The Shop is very proud to have reached the midlands final,” he said.

“This is especially rewarding as we have been open for only 15 months.

“Our inclusion as a finalist recognises the outstanding dedication shown by our energetic manager, Joan Goodman, and our loyal and committed group of volunteers who go the extra mile for our customers every single day.

“We thank our customers, our shareholder members and our community partners for supporting our nomination and also our many local suppliers whose excellent products help to make The Shop the success that it is.”

English regional champions will be announced in May, propelling them to the Grand Final, to be held at Parliament in June 2020.