Whitehaven trader Gerard Richardson was hailed as being among the best in the country as he received a commendation in the final of the UK’s Best Small Shops competition in Parliament yesterday.

The competition celebrates the creativity of smaller retailers and the central role they play in the local community.

The 25 shortlisted small shops were invited to a parliamentary reception.

Copeland’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Trudy Harrison attended the event.

She said: “I was delighted that Copeland business Richardson’s got down to the final of this prestigious competition.

“Richardson’s is a credit to Whitehaven and to Copeland and this is a great achievement. As well as being a retailer, Gerard is hugely successful at organising events and community activities which have brought hundreds of thousands into Copeland.”

Mr Richardson said: “To be recognised as one of the best in the country as we approach our 25th business anniversary is really wonderful and it was a real honour to be met by Trudy. It really was lovely of her to take time out and show us the House of Commons and we even got to witness a bill being passed.

“It’s been a fabulous day and here’s to the next 25!”