AWARD: Gisburn deli runner-up in ‘Rural Oscars’

Sharon Smalley and Maxine Bridge at Delicious Deli in Gisburn which has reached the final of the Countryside Alliance 'shop of the year'.'Photo Ben Parsons
Sharon Smalley and Maxine Bridge at Delicious Deli in Gisburn which has reached the final of the Countryside Alliance 'shop of the year'.'Photo Ben Parsons
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A VILLAGE shop and cafe is celebrating being named runner-up for “best in the North West” honours in a national contest.

Maxine Bridge and Sharon Smalley, who run The Delicious Deli and Cafe at Park View, Gisburn, are thrilled at their adjudication in the Countryside Alliance’s annual awards, known as the rural Oscars.

Their business was one of four regional finalists in the category for village shops and post offices, and they were pipped to first place by a shop in Malpas, Cheshire.

But the busy mums aren’t disappointed at not winning, and they hope to enter again.

Maxine said: “We’ve only been in business for just over two years, so we’re very pleased at being runner-up.

“Lots of our customers have been talking to us about the awards, and it’s given us all a boost.”

The awards scheme is in its eighth year, and covers shops, food producers, enterprise, butchers and new start-ups. A delighted customer nominated the business, and Maxine and Sharon were then invited to send details to the Countryside Alliance.

A competition judge arrived one day unannounced to look round and ask questions.

Maxine said: “He was very thorough and asked us lots of questions about how much locally-sourced produce we sell, how many local people work here and how far they travel.”

Apart from the deli and cafe, their shop serves as Post Office with a visiting postmaster twice a week. They also sell tickets for village events, support fund-raising efforts and charities, and make a special welcome for walkers and cyclists.

Maxine said: “Our next idea for groups of cyclists is to have a rail outside and a stock of bike locks that we can lend them, so they can sit in the cafe without worrying about their bikes outside.”