A thriving, well-run shop is a real blessing in a small village. If it’s run by a hardworking chap that everyone likes, well that’s even better.
That’s why villagers and businesses in Ullesthorpe, north-west of Lutterworth, have clubbed together to buy a present for village post office and shop owner Navin ‘Nav’ Vara.
The present - a bench for outside his shop - was the idea of villager Caroline Robinson.
She told the Mail: “The postmaster, Nav, is the hardest working, most pleasant chap you could wish to meet.
“He works seven days a week. He’s up just after 5am every day to receive the newspapers. The shop is stocked with thousands of items which has saved many a villager a trip to the DIY store and supermarket.”
Caroline noticed that on the odd quiet moment, Nav sat on the shop step watching the world go by - always speaking to villagers walking past.
“I thought a nice bench that he can sit on outside would be good. A little plaque on it with a note of thanks from the village too.”
So at Christmas Caroline decided to do a collection for Nav, delivered leaflets around the village asking for a donation towards a present and got “a very good response”.
Nav’s bench was duly presented to him at the weekend.
Nav (58), a married man with three children who lives above the shop, was completely surprised by the presentation on Saturday.
“I didn’t have any inkling” he admitted. “There were quite a few people there, but no one mentioned it to me!
“I’ve got a bench with a plaque on for providing services to the community.
“I do sit outside on the step sometimes in the summer, when we’ve got a couple of moments. I was really chuffed by it, because I’m told it shows customers’ appreciation.”
Ullesthorpe Post Office and Stores is on Main Street in the village, and sells everything from Lottery tickets to DIY supplies, as well as the usual stamps and groceries.
“It’s an Aladdin’s Cave in here!” said Nav.
“Ullesthorpe is so lucky to have this shop” said Caroline. “It’s stocked with thousands of items which has saved many a villager a trip to the DIY store and supermarket. And if ever someone deserved recognition, its Nav.”
Parish council chair Lesley Chamberlain added: “Yes, he’s very worthy of this recognition - he works very long hours for not much recompense,
“And I know - because I work at the shop too!”