A PLAQUE to celebrate the achievement of winning a ‘rural Oscar’ is being nailed to the wall at Newbridge on Wye’s post office and stores.

The post office run by Adele and Jeff Jones won Best Village Shop and Post Office at the Countryside Alliance Awards, Wales’ premier rural business awards.

The awards, which recognise the best enterprises in rural areas, were handed out by Welsh Government minister for the environment Hannah Blythyn at a glittering reception at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, on Wednesday, March 7.

The awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are now in their 13th year. They were set up to celebrate rural communities, produce, skill, heritage and enterprising spirit and they run across five categories which enable the Countryside Alliance to give a platform and a voice to diverse rural businesses.

The winners in each category were chosen from more than 11,000 public nominations across Wales and were announced on the night by Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance director for Wales.

Newbridge-on-Wye post office will now go on to represent Wales at the UK Rural Oscars which will be held at the House of Lords in London.

Runner-up in their category was Kay Murphy and Caroline Mainwaring from Siop Uwchaled Cerrigydrudion, while highly commended were Siop Y Pentre Cilgerran and The Llandegla Community Shop.

Announcing the award, Rachel said: “The winning village shop and post office who will represent Wales at the House of Lords goes to a family who purposely set out to find and create a family business.

“Deciding on the Mid Wales village of Newbridge on Wye Adele and Jeff Jones and family set about transforming both financially and cosmetically the village shop and post office in to the thriving business it is today.

“They had to fight hard to keep their post office services, refusing to give in to the pressure bestowed upon them by the post office and are by now depended upon to run no less than five outreach post offices in neighbouring villages running a counter top from any premises that can house them, as well as opening their post office counter to customers for a seven-day-a-week service!

“As one of their nominations stated ‘they keep our little village alight with a glow of optimism’. “Congratulations to the winners of the Best Local Shop and Post office to the Jones family of Newbridge on Wye, I am very pleased indeed to be able to crown them as our Champions.”

Environment minister Ms Blythyn said: “It was a privilege to be part of the awards and celebrate the fantastic rural businesses we have across Wales.

“It is crucial to recognise the vital role played by rural businesses in Wales and champion the ongoing growth of our rural economy.

“Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union it is more important than ever that the rural economy remains resilient and we maximise and manage the opportunities to ensure long term success.

“The Welsh Government is fully behind rural businesses in Wales and I would urge all businesses to take advantage of the support available.”

The reception was sponsored by Assembly Members Paul Davies, Jane Hutt, Neil Hamilton, Simon Thomas and Kirsty Williams.