A DETERMINED village community has rallied together to save its century old store by launching a share offer scheme to buy it.

Residents of Kirkoswald, in the Eden Valley, need to raise £200,000 by the end of June to save the shop, currently known as Ravenbridge Stores on Bridge Street, after the untimely death of owner, David Hodgkiss, last year.

It has been run with a manager and a group of volunteers.

It's now at risk of closure so the Management Committee for Kirkoswald Community Shop has launched the scheme, with shares costing £25 each, after the store was put up for sale.

The shop is the only one in the village and is used a community hub.

Local resident Nev Jackson said “I have been using this shop for over 70 years, it is essential to keep it open.

“I have been walking down the hill from home to the shop every morning for over 20 years since I retired, to collect my newspaper.

"I don’t know what I would do if the shop wasn’t there.”

Ruth Anderson MBE, chair of the management committee, said: “We are delighted to be able to launch this share offer to help people and businesses to play a part in rescuing our shop from closure.

"We have been overwhelmed with offers of support so far from members of our community with pledges of over £100,000.

"But we still have a long way to go to hit our £200,000 target so please dig deep and help keep our community alive.”

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, has also lent his support, he said: “This community project will help to keep this rural village sustainable and create a vital hub for the community - it's essential to the village.”

As part of the project, the Management Committee is also seeking grant funding hit the target.

The Community Shares Unit organisation has already contributed £5,000 towards set-up costs.

Also a Power to Change Community Shares Booster Programme will contribute £25,000 if they can raise £125,000.

For details go to: www.kirkoswaldshop.co.uk