A WOMAN whose family ran a village store for more than two centuries and who secured its future for the community has died at the age of 87.

When Osmotherley’s village store first opened in 1786, Mozart had just premiered his The Marriage of Figaro in Vienna, Davy Crockett was born and William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister.

It is one of the oldest grocery shops in North Yorkshire and for much of its history it was owned by the Thompson family.

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For several decades it was run by Grace Thompson, 87, who passed away on March 27, after spending her final years in a Northallerton nursing home.

Last year she sold the 227-year-old store for £515,000 at auction.

But one of her last acts was to ensure it would remain a shop for local villagers, having added a rare restricted covenant.

It also specified that the old shop front, signs, interior with its vintage storage cabinet and even the delivery bike must remain.

Miss Thompson began working behind the counter in 1943, after leaving school at 16 to help the family out after her father died.

She was still delivering newspapers in the village until she was 75, but a fall nine years ago forced her to step down from running the shop alone.

It was sold along with a neighbouring two-bedroom cottage almost exactly a year ago.

Now the village store has become her legacy.

Chairman of Osmotherley Parish Council, Noel Coward, said: “Grace Thompson was very well-known and well-liked member of the Osmotherley community. Her family ran the grocer’s shop for over two centuries.

“In recent years she had not been able to be very active, but still maintained a key interest in the village.

"Even though she was lately in a nursing home, she was still able to visit the village and as late as March this year she attended a community coffee morning at St Peter’s Church.

“Osmotherley will not be the same without Grace Thompson. She has left a very important legacy.”

Her funeral will take place in Wednesday (April 16) at St Peter’s Church in Osmotherley at noon.