LUDWELL Stores has been crowned the UK and Ireland’s Village Shop/Post Office Champion of the Year.

The Grade II listed shop, run for the last four-and-a-half years by Phil and Jo James, was nominated by customers for its excellent service and comprehensive range of provisions.

In January it was voted as best in the south west and earlier this month it went through to the national finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards, which was staged at the House of Lords.

Mr and Mrs James found out they were the winners after reading an article in the Daily Telegraph, which sponsored the award.

“We were surprised as we’re quite a little shop. All the customers were very supportive and thought we would win but we didn’t think we would get right through to the national finals,” said Mrs James.

“I would like to thank all our customers and staff who have supported us so much throughout the competition.”

Last Wednesday the couple were invited to the House of Lords where they were presented with a plaque by Richard Benyon MP, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister and Philip Johnston from the Daily Telegraph.