Ashdene Service Station in East Sussex has become the first forecourt in the UK to win the My Shop is Your Shop Gold Award for Community Retailing.

The award, which recognises the contribution that great local stores make to their communities, was presented by Greg Barker, MP for Bexhill and Battle. He said: "With the closure of the local post office, Ashdene Service Station has become a lifeline for the local community, and the way in which the staff have entrenched themselves in the community has been a model for small retailers."

Carol Smith, who has run the store for 30 years, has a long track record of contributing to the local community. When the Post Office and shop closed in nearby Hurst Green, she set up minibus runs to her service station. The store supports Hawkhurst Cottage Hospital in Kent, the local air ambulance and Help for Heroes, and donates leftover Easter eggs to the Demelza House, a local children’s hospice.

Another priority for Carol is sourcing as much as possible from local suppliers, including eggs from a local farm, pies and sausages from the local butchers and bread from the local bakery. At Christmas, she orders fresh geese and turkeys from a local farm. Part of the profits of this local produce go the cottage hospital and the air ambulance.