FIVE years ago Yarpole bought into the idea of opening a community shop in its church, a show of faith that paid off this week.

Now, word of what’s been done at listed St Leonard’s has got around, as other parishes try to put their churches at the centre of community life again.

Yarpole, near Leominster, has long been sold on the idea of its own shop, with the locals even running something out of a temporary building in the pub car park.

Then someone pitched space in St Leonard’s as a possibility and those locals began to believe.

It was a “eureka moment”, said Andrew Thompson, chairman of the working group that made the shop happen. All told, it’s taken nearly five years to get the St Leonard’s shop up and running and it even delivers as a sub post-office.

On Saturday, the shop was ready to serve, opened by Lord Darnley, chairman of the Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust.

The Bishop of Hereford gave the venture his blessing at a special service in St Leonard’s on Sunday.

Already, talk in Yarpole is turning to what else the church can be, with art exhibitions and performance events among the ideas touted.