VILLAGERS gathered to celebrate the fruits of a £15,000 renovation project that has transformed the exterior of the village shop.

Owners of the Clatfords Village Store welcomed 50 guests on Monday night to commemorate the completion of the refurbishment which has seen the building’s entrance replaced by new steps and a small patio area with seating.

The space will be named The Orangery to reflect the colour of the area's seating.

Andover businesses Tucker Joinery, ATF and Purbeck carried out the work, with 30 or so donors making the funds available to cover the cost of the project.

Martin Jourdan, chairman of the Clatfords Shop Association, is hoping the renovations will help cement the shop as the ‘beating heart of the village’ where residents can meet for tea, coffee, cakes and ice cream, all of which are sold at the shop.

Free Wi-fi will also be available for both regular visitors and walkers and cyclists passing through the village.

Speaking after the Monday's event, Martin said: “It was all very jolly. And really for a village like us it’s one of these things that cements the village atmosphere as a whole.

“That’s why our vision is to be the ‘beating heart of the village’. Because we are next to the post office and we want to be there for the people who can’t get into Andover. That’s who we are there for.”

Martin also thanked the donors who helped make the project a reality.

Clatford shop is a community run organisation which depends on around 60 volunteers, including some from Andover.

Martin added: "We are always looking for new volunteers and part time paid staff at weekends and would really welcome Andover residents who would enjoy the taste of a village community."

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