Sherston Post Office and shop owners Paul and Gail Mather are celebrating after being shortlisted for a national award.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the Rural Oscars, announced their finalists last week, and Sherston’s Post Office is in the running for the village shop category.

Mr Mather, 53, said: “We are delighted. It’s all down to the customers.

“They had the chance to nominate us for the local award and their comments were reviewed.

“The customers commented on their perception of the shop, how they are treated and what we offer.

“We’re really proud of this one – what the customers say is the most important thing.

“It’s not all about selling food.

“We have a table for people to sit at when they’re waiting for a bus and it’s cold, or waiting for a friend.

“We try to be a bit quirky. Some people live on their own, and it’s a chance to meet somebody – that’s all part of it.”

The couple, who have been married for 32 years, took over the post office eight years ago and moved into the converted Old School in November last year after previously working from their front room.

Mr Mather said: “I used to work for a bank, and Gail worked for Marks & Spencer. In my job I was spending more and more time away and our son was finishing university so we wanted to do something new.

“Gail has great customer service skills and I had my banking knowledge so we started looking for village shops.

“We found Sherston and we had a great feeling about it, and we’re lucky enough to have never looked back.

“We have very good staff, which helps make it – it’s how people are treated.

“I wouldn’t swap them for anybody.”

The Countryside Alliance Awards, now in their eighth year, aim to celebrate the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside.

Sherston Post Office and Shop is now competing with four other shops in the south west from Devon, Hampshire and Somerset to gain the regional title.