Tributes paid as community shop's manager Wendy retires

Wendy Lavington is retiring from the Sproughton Community Shop after 11 years. Picture: SARAH LUCY

Wendy Lavington is retiring from Sproughton Community Shop after 11 years - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Manager of Sproughton Community Shop Wendy Lavington is retiring, after being at the helm of the store since it opened 11 years ago.

Wendy, who is stepping down at the age of 60, has been at the heart of the shop project since around 2007, when the plan to develop a village shop began.

It sadly isn't possible to have a full send-off due to the Covid-19 lockdown. However, bunting is going up at the shop and Wendy is being presented with flowers and a cake to mark the occasion, as she hands over to the new manager, Tracy Booth.

Wendy Lavington is retiring from the Sproughton Community Shop and Tracy Booth is now taking over.

Wendy Lavington is retiring from the Sproughton Community Shop and Tracy Booth is now taking over - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Wendy said: "I have enjoyed the last 11 years, nursing my baby along, but I think I've exhausted my shopping gene.

"It's now time to hang up my pinny, and pass on the apron strings to Tracy's safe hands."

The community shop, run by a band of volunteers, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year - and has been a real lifeline to the village during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wendy has concentrated on sourcing local produce, giving the shop a special Suffolk flavour, as it has amassed an amazing range of goods - from mousetraps to champagne.  

David Barnes, one of the shop's directors, said: "I first met Wendy 11 years ago, and I know that the shop would not be where it is now without all her hard work and dedication.

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"She will be sadly missed by us all and we wish her a long and happy retirement."

Sproughton had been without its own store for many years when the parish council held a public vote asking neighbours what facilities would most improve their quality of life.

A proposal for a new shop was overwhelmingly the most popular suggestion. After years of hard work by Wendy and others, Tithe Barn’s former tractor garage was converted into a store, which opened in 2010.

When the shop opened, none of those involved had any experience of retail grocery or running a business, but Wendy soon got to grips with managing the shop and quickly grasped the digital administration required for stock control, pricing and wastage.

As well as running the shop, Wendy has been MC for many volunteers' quiz nights and also written the questions. The network of volunteers has given great support to people in the village during the pandemic.