A SHOPKEEPER who collected a 'rural hero' award in London heard the gunshots of last week's terrorism attack.

Robert Ruck, who runs Wellington Shop and Post Office, was walking over Westminster Bridge in London on Wednesday moments before the terrorist attack which saw pedestrians mowed down by a car injuring 50 people, three of them fatally.

The grandfather had left the bridge moments before the attack and entered a nearby tube station when he heard gunshots.

Hours earlier Robert with his wife Ann had been given directions by PC Keith Palmer, who was fatally stabbed by the terrorist as he guarded Parliament in Westminster.

"We didn't realise who we were talking to at the time and it wasn't until the day after when we saw pictures of the murdered policeman that it hit us," said Robert.

"We had just dropped down into the underground when we heard the gunshots but nobody seemed to stop and everybody just kept on walking.

"It wasn't until we came out of London that we realised and picked up the full story. We just pulled the car over and cried because we realised how close we had been to what had happened.

"I couldn't put it into words and it makes you stop and think that we could have been mowed down. For once somebody up there must have been on our side and we left the award ceremony at the right time."

Robert and his wife had travelled down to London for The Countryside Alliance Rural Oscar awards which took place on Wednesday afternoon inside the House of Lords.

Unsure where the event was taking place Robert had asked PC Palmer for directions and the police officer had offered to walk them down to the correct entrance before explaining which direction they had to go.

Rob was given a 'Rural Hero' award for going above and beyond the call of duty for his tight-knit community, running the Post Office and shop and acting as a hub for deliveries and ensuring young and old are included in village life.

He was handed his award by Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom MP.

Shortly after the prizes were handed out Westminster went into lockdown following the terrorist incident.

"At about 2.20pm we decided to leave and if we had walked over Westminster Bridge two minutes later we would have been involved," added Robert.

"It's mindblowing and just shows how life can change in a short few seconds. I can't believe how many people rang us afterwards to check we were okay as they knew we were in London that day."

Robert has decided to sell the Wellington Shop after eight years to have some time with family.