LOCALS gathered to say farewell to the couple running Fernhurst’s village newsagents after 33 years.

They had run the village newsagents, getting up at 4.30am each morning no matter what the weather, taking only one day off a year to celebrate Christmas. They haven’t had a holiday for 25 years.

So it was no wonder, but a big surprise for Val and Chris Ede, when a crowd gathered outside their shop on Saturday, May 29, 15 minutes before closing time.

Residents paid tribute to a much respected couple, as well as thanking them for the service they had given to the village.

The presentation was organised by the chairman of The Fernhurst Society, Judith Turner, and she and the villagers arrived laden with presents and good wishes.

Judith started a goodbye collection as villagers said they wanted to give contributions towards gifts for the couple which included flowers, a large fudge chocolate cake, golf balls for Chris – a keen golfer – and a balloon saying Thank You.

Judith also presented the surprised couple with a card signed by everyone declaring Val and Chris as “A legend of local newsagents.”

The couple made an emotional thank you and thanked the village for its support over the years.

As the cake was shared out, others spoke of the service the shop had provided not just for newspapers and magazines, but for groceries, sweets, milk and cold drinks. Residents also praised the couple’s friendly greeting, and the fact they “remembered everyone’s name”.

As they closed the door for the last time, Val and Chris, said they both felt, with Chris nearing 70, this was the right time to retire “so we can have a holiday together and have time to do the things we planned,” said Val.

“But we will miss all our friends in Fernhurst.”