A Meon Valley shop which faced £40,000 losses less than a decade ago is vying for a rural Oscar following a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

West Meon Village Shop is close to winning a Countryside Alliance Award after being nominated in the retail category by supportive friends and customers.

The shop has been shortlisted for the best Village Shop/Post Office title in the south east with the champion facing other regional winners at a House of Lords showdown in May.

The business faces competition from across the county border as Compton Village Shop and Tea Room is also in the last four along with shops from Surrey and East Sussex.

Further afield down the A272, The Hinton Arms is also in the last four of the Best Pub category and Stansted Park Farm Shop is hopeful of a Local Food/Drink title in the competition, billed by the organisers as “The Rural Oscars”.

Voting closed on Sunday but regardless of the outcome manager Rachell Barnett is thrilled with the shop’s success and has thanked villagers for their support after “badgering them” into voting.

The future of the shop looked uncertain in 2014 as a management committee called a meeting in a bid to cut five-figure losses and raise awareness.

The opening of a convenience store at the West Meon Hut garage hit business hard while there have also been burglaries, lead thefts and drainage issues while their milk and paper round was halted by a poorly-driven 4x4.

But it’s now looking secure thanks to a host of energy-saving measures, increased turnover during the pandemic and ongoing support from councils and the West Meon Wine Society.

Donations – which are often anonymous and unexpected – have also helped enormously with plans now being drawn up for an internal and external redecoration.