A fashion and food emporium is celebrating 27 years on Ledbury’s High Street.

As Ceci Paolo prepares to celebrate the milestone this weekend, owner Patricia Harrison has been looking back at her first impressions of Ledbury.

“40 years ago, almost to the day, we moved to Ledbury, attracted by our very special house that we bought almost on sight,” she said.

Ledbury Reporter: Service with a smile at Ceci PaoloService with a smile at Ceci Paolo (Image: Ceci Paolo)

“I revisit our first impressions every time I drive into the town - the opening up of the sky, the red earth, the forested hills against which Ledbury nestles and the High Street with its mixture of mediaeval black-and-white buildings, and others (like ours) with later facades covering up their earlier origins. 

“It’s a small town, and yet it not only has a large important Norman church but it has just about everything that anybody could want.”

All these years later, Patricia is still just as enthusiastic about extolling the virtues of Ledbury.

“It has a great community spirit, which came particularly to the fore during the pandemic,” she said.

“Cultural activities - the Market Theatre, Wine Club, Ledbury Poetry Festival - and good sporting clubs.

“A friendly atmosphere, loads of good pubs, a couple of excellent restaurants and excellent tradespeople, which is very important if you’re moving to the area.

Ledbury Reporter: The shop ready for ChristmasThe shop ready for Christmas (Image: Ceci Paolo)

“There are good transport links - railway station, coaches, we’re five miles from the motorway system. Birmingham and Bristol are one hour away, with Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Cheltenham about 30-40 minutes away, by car.

“Last but not least, slow shopping in the many independent shops where everyone knows your name.

“Just as our predecessors’ shops carried a range of interesting products - as evidenced by the old Tilley’s Almanac in 1900 - so do Ledbury’s shops today.

“There is nothing ordinary about Ledbury’s High Street shops, which are so different to so many High Streets around the country.

“Ledbury is full of history but it wears this lightly. As a shopkeeper/owner, I am only too aware that we are operating in a building which has a long history of earlier shopkeepers who lived and worked there.

“Many shops in the town retain their earlier features, linking us with the past. Museums in the town help to keep Ledbury’s past alive.”