Grayson Perry makes merry as Essex villagers save their local store

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Essex villagers who came together to save their store, were joined in the celebrations by Turner prize-winner Grayson Perry, after they raised £135,455 in nine months .

Locals in Wrabness acted quickly when the owners of their general store retired. Rather than joining the long list of rural communities with no local shop, they launched a share scheme to raise the cash to run their own shop.

Mr Perry has been commissioned to build a house near the village.

More than 400 village shops close each year but communities are fighting back and 140 community shops have opened in five years. To help tackle the lack of services and isolation the Ecology building society has launched a mortgage for community-owned shops that are members of or receiving advice from the specialist Plunkett Foundation.

Ecology chief Paul Ellis said: "Community shops help to build a more sustainable society by regenerating the local economy, increasing democratic control, reducing loneliness and even saving car journeys."

Details of Plunkett's work can be found at