A call has gone out for a fresh face to take over a village hardware store where the owner is planning to retire.

Roy Wilkerson Hardware, on Old Road in Acle, has been a lifeline for villagers since it opened approximately 50 years ago.

The shop has been hailed as an Aladdin's Cave that "always has what you need" and one of the best village hardware stores around. 

For the last 30 years it has been run by Keith Miller - but the 75-year-old is now planning to step aside to let a new face "take the business into the 21st century".

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His announcement has prompted emotional appeals from customers who fear the village could lose the shop.

Mr Miller owns the business and rents the property - and is hoping to sell the business by the end of the financial year.

"I'm going to retire but hopefully the shop will carry on," he said. 

He said that business was difficult after Brexit and Covid but that "things are picking up again".

"I think the business needs to be taken into the 21st century and I'm not the person to do it," he said. 

The shop opened approximately 50 years ago and when Mr Miller joined he was Roy Wilkerson's business partner.

When Mr Wilkerson retired, Mr Miller bought the business and has been running it since then.

Mr Miller expects to retire next March but added that "it's all in the melting pot at the moment".

He said he will miss seeing the customers, especially the regulars who he calls by their first names.

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On social media, Acle residents have been expressing their hopes that the shop will not close down for good. 

One woman said: "It will be an absolute tragedy for the village to lose it."

Another commented: "Please please someone take this amazing treasure trove of a hardware store on. Acle would be really lost without it."