A popular village newsagents has closed for good after the owners’ decided to retire.

Chris and Jean Slocombe shut up Appledore News Agency in Market Street for good on Wednesday, December 19.

The couple, who have been married for 23 years and have two daughters, first took over the business 13 years ago.

They saw the shop on the market in 2005 and decided it was the life and career change they both needed.

But now Jean said the couple, from Northam, had decided it was the right time to say goodbye.

She said: "Chris was working in an abbatoir and wanted a change of career.

"I'm an Appledore girl and I worked here when I was 16-years-old.

"So when we saw the business on the market we thought, why not?"

The couple have enjoyed their time behind the till, with the shop becoming much more than just a newsagents.

Chris said: "People have said they will miss us and they will miss the shop.

"It has become a meeting place for people, it's definitely been a bit of a hub in the community."

Jean said the couple chose to shut the shop due to her ill health, otherwise they would have continued to run it for longer.

"We tried to sell the business but we couldn't, so we have had to close," she said.

"Our paper rounds have been taken on so people won't miss those.

"Chris will probably look for something new while I will be taking a rest for a little bit now.

"We're sad to go. We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it."

Chris said over time the village had changed, and he felt maybe a community shop in a village wasn't as attractive a business as it once was.

"We definitely had the best seven years at the start of the business," he said.

"It has changed a lot. And we will really miss the people but it has been hard work and I won't miss the work as much.

"I certainly won't miss the 4.30am starts."

The couple thanked everyone for their support over the years.

Jean said: "We have a lot of very loyal customers and we will miss them.

"We just want to say a huge thank you to them for everything."

The building has been purchased and will remain as a retail unit, but it is not yet confirmed what it will become in the future.