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Please will you sponsor me up to £10 in aid of your village shop?.
On Friday 22nd June I will walk to work in Winchester, work a full day, then walk back home to West Tytherley. According to Google this is a total distance of 31.8 miles. I am scheduled to chair a meeting at 9am sharp that day, but as the 22nd is the longest day of the year there is enough daylight for me to leave at 4.30am and get home about 9.30pm. My son Arthur decided to help and won sponsorship for his marathon, running four yes, four! laps of 'The Rec' (pictured below).
I am doing this unusual commute to raise money for the shop, of which I am Treasurer. Owned and run by YOU, the local community, the shop is a small but precious local asset of an increasingly rare kind, struggling against supermarket competition, home delivery and rising food and energy prices.
We would be in a much stronger position were it not for a Government loan dating back to 1996, which was taken out to fund the construction of the shop. The repayments amount to just over £1000 a year and last year were the difference between a small profit and the £900 loss we actually recorded. The debt would be paid off in 2016 but despite the wonderful support we receive from local shoppers there is a risk that we will not be able to keep trading until then.
Our local MP Caroline Nokes wrote to Danny Alexander to ask him write off the balance of the loan on the basis that we have already repaid more than 150% of the amount borrowed, but unfortunately he decided that the Government could not afford to do so.
We are doing lots of things to try and plug the gap. We have increased our opening hours, expanded and improved our stock, obtained grants for refurbishment and a new till system, renegotiated our energy contract and taken action to reduce other costs. But none of these will enable us to start the year at zero rather than -£1000, so we are looking at other ways to try and rid ourselves of this old debt. Through my midsummer walk I am hoping to raise £519.42 to pay off the next instalment, due in October, and am writing to ask if you would consider sponsoring me for up to £10. I would be profoundly grateful.
Our village shop is not a charity. As Treasurer I believe that the shop is capable of turning a profit if we are able to cut costs like these loan repayments. Your donation will strengthen our position enormously.
Unfortunately I can't use one of the online charity donation websites, but would be delighted to receive payment in any of the ways listed below.
On the day itself I will post updates on my progress to my (hitherto totally dormant) Twitter account: @strachan_j Entirely on his own initiative, my son Arthur decided to run five laps of the village recreation ground for the same cause.
I am sure we would be happy to accept combined 'per mile and lap' sponsorship!
Thank you for taking time to read this and for your support, moral or financial.
Cheque, payable to West Tytherley Village Store Association.
Bank transfer to a/c no 29462087, sort code 09-01-55.
Cash at the shop
Paypal account: email@example.com. I will pass all sums raised to the shop. Statements can be provided.
If you need more information, or are interested in joining, please email me. John Guy