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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Wednesday, 29 December 2010
The Archers features South Glos community shop scheme

Characters from The Archers rehearse
The Archers' actors Carole Boyd and Norman Painting rehearse in the studio

A community-run shop in Almondsbury is enjoying a brush with fame as the inspiration for a storyline on The Archers on BBC Radio 4.

Researchers got in touch with volunteers running the shop in South Gloucestershire to make sure they got their upcoming storyline right.

The idea for the Almondsbury store actually came about in 2003 and was the brainchild of local residents.

Successful trials in 2008 then proved that there was enough interest and demand for a local shop and it started trading in March 2009.

Remote location

Alun Evans is the chairman of Almondsbury Community Services Association, the group which runs the shop.

"We are remote," he said.

"In a sense, Almondsbury village itself is cut off from shops - you have to drive a car to get to a shop.

"Basically it costs you about £1 for a return journey to any supermarket but you can't walk it.

I don't listen to The Archers...it was quite an experience for me
Alun Evans

"Almondsbury is a pretty hilly little place [and] the oldies - including me - can't get out of here".

And Mr Evans admits that he had never heard of The Archers when he got the phone call form the BBC.

"About three or four months after we started, a researcher from the BBC called and said they were thinking of setting this up in Ambridge," he added.

"I thought this was a local village, because I don't listen to The Archers, and it turned out that it was an Archers researcher phoning up to find out exactly how to set up a community shop.

"So, it was quite an experience for me!"

Record-breaking programme

The Archers is the world's longest running radio soap opera.

Set in the fictional Midlands village of Ambridge, it has been recorded in Birmingham since 1950 and is currently celebrating its 60th year.

The drama was first described as an everyday tale of country folk but has since tackled controversial issues.

The Almondsbury Interchange from space, photographed by NASA Johnson Space Center
The Almondsbury Interchange from space, photographed by NASA

The shop in Almondsbury has over 50 volunteers helping out and everyone is unpaid.

"In the teeth of a recession we're doing extremely well and in the bad weather we can help the local people who can't get out so much," added Mr Evans.

"We've had some wonderful times and, besides delivering 36 turkeys, this Christmas has gone extremely well".

Mr Evans said he had also been approached by members from two or three other local villages exploring the possibility of launching similar shops in their areas.




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