Prince Charles officially opened Uley Community Stores and Post office in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
A RELAXED Prince Charles charmed the crowd when almost the whole of Uley turned out to see him officially open their community shop.
The Prince of Wales was greeted at the volunteer-run Uley Community Stores and Post Office by residents who got together and raised £50,000 to save the shop from closure.
As the bunting fluttered in the icy breeze the prince was welcomed by chairman of Uley Parish Council Anne Sutcliffe, local vicar the Rev Diana Crook, and Chris Cowcher from Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, who all helped kick-start the project.
Before unveiling a commemorative plaque the prince chatted to the unpaid helpers including shop manager Angela Haddrell.
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Appearing at ease, the smiling prince asked the volunteers questions about the project and accepted gifts of a book on Uley's history, a pair of mugs from a batch made specially to mark his visit, and a tray bake cake with a thank you message in the icing.
"He was an extremely charming man," volunteer shop assistant Enid Fullard said.
"I was surprised by his wavy hair at the back," she said.
Mrs Haddrell told the prince how the shop closed one day and volunteers hit the ground running when they took over the next.
"It was a steep learning curve," she said.
Funding to revamp the shop, after its former private operators retired, was raised by the sale of £10 shares.
The shop was a lifeline to many older members of the community, Mrs Haddrell said.
"One lady comes in three times a day. For her paper, to buy something for lunch and again to pick up tea. Social contact is what it is about too," she said.
Prince Charles chatted to schoolchildren gathered outside the shop and accepted a map they'd made of Uley village.
He also spoke to playgroup tots and many others in the sizeable crowd outside the not-for-profit stores before he was driven away.