Sutton Mum Keeps It Local

PUBLISHED: 14:22 30 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010

Fiona Dyer

Fiona Dyer

SUTTON jeweller Fiona Dyer decided to take matters into her own hands when she found she could no longer buy crafts and gifts in the village. A chance meeting in the school playground with like-minded Sutton mum Amanda Veal led to the establishment of a

SUTTON jeweller Fiona Dyer decided to take matters into her own hands when she found she could no longer buy crafts and gifts in the village.

A chance meeting in the school playground with like-minded Sutton mum Amanda Veal led to the establishment of a monthly gift shop in the Sutton Methodist Church Hall.

Former Witchford Village College teacher and home-made soap maker Sarah Garford came on board as well as Fiona's jewellery-making friend Annie Marshall - and the Gift Shop was born.

"There used to be good shops in Sutton, an all-sorts shop and a newsagent, then there was a bank and a library as well as the One Stop. At a time when the village is expanding so quickly, facilities have just gone down and down, said Mrs Dyer.

"I wanted to see whether people would be interested in buying individual things locally that were reasonably priced. At last month's event there was a woman from Doddington who makes her own soaps, home-made teddy bears, my jewellery and my friend Annie Marshall's, and next month we will have a man who makes wooden crafts and a lady who makes her own honey is coming in November. People can come and go - then the beauty of it is that there are different things there each month and we can surprise visitors."

Mrs Dyer also looks on it as an opportunity to encourage local producers to come forward. "If you are an just starting out and it is the first time you have sold your own work, it is hard - and often very expensive to set up," she said. "I always sell my friend's jewellery and she sells mine."

Even the Scouts have decided to come on board - selling refreshments and home-made cake to raise money for a new meeting place, embodying the sense of community spirit that Mrs Dyer set out to foster.

Fiona and friends embody everything about Keep it Local - a can-do spirit, working together with friends and neighbours to plug a hole in our service-deprived communities.

nThe next Gift Shop will be held on October 11, 9am-midday in Sutton Methodist Church Hall, High Street, Sutton. Dates for the diary - November 8 and Christmas Gift Shop on December 13.

Pic cap: Fiona Dyer is helping to Keeps it Local in Sutton.

Photo: HELEN DRAKE. 9303HD0908.

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