Johnny backs charity shop

Local wildlife television personality backs capmaign to safeguard charity shop’s future.

LOCAL wildlife television personality Johnny Kingdom has added his voice to a campaign to safeguard a South Molton charity shop.

Mr Kingdom has signed a petition organised by the SMR Phoenix Re-use Shop, which is expecting to have to vacate its premises on the corner of Southerly Road to make way for a proposed Tesco supermarket in the Central Car Park area.

Last week, the Gazette reported that 1,760 signatures had been collected, but shop worker Melanie Shiner said Mr Kingdom was among a further 220 people to have added their names since the petition was presented to the council on Wednesday night.

She said: “As petition organiser it was a real honour to see Johnny and his wife Julie add their signatures. I’m sure that having Johnny on board will help our campaign immensely.”

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Ms Shiner said she had been warned that the petition would be heavily scrutinised by officers and that signatures from those who neither live or work in the district council’s electoral area would be invalidated.

But she argued that all of those who signed were shop customers: “You simply cannot ignore the fact that these people come into South Molton from other areas of Devon and outside Devon; each and every one spends money in the town and boosts the local economy.

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“For many visitors to the town, the re-use shop is their first port of call, and often their last too,” she added.

The council said the petition would be verified by officers before being brought before members at the April meeting.

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