TWO county village shops have been announced as regional finalists in the 2016 Countryside Alliance Awards.

Called the 'Rural Oscars', the awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through small hard-working businesses.

They are now in their twelfth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win, with more than 7,000 nominations made this year in total.

Kingsland Post Office and Wellington Delights have been named as two of the four Midlands’ finalists in the the village shop/post office category.

Countryside Alliance Awards director Jill Grieve said: “This has been a record year for nominations, showing how much the public values and supports our hard working rural businessmen and women.

"For these finalists to get this far is already an exceptional achievement and I look forward to meeting them as judging gets underway. The Rural Oscars were set up to champion those who go the extra mile for their communities and it is an honour to offer a voice to rural business in this way.”

Wellington Delights sells fruit, vegetables and meat which are locally sourced and there is also a parish room and a community-run library within the premises.

Kingsland Post Office was saved from closure at the eleventh hour and serves the village as a vital community hub.

Other categories included in the awards are local food and drink, tourism enterprise, farm enterprise and butcher.