Local icons who have worked tirelessly in a village newsagents are set to retire after 43 years trading.

A core part of Codicote, The Red House is a privately owned newsagent which will be closing for good on Saturday August 27.

Owners Richard and Diana Morley sold pick and mix and the usual small sweet shop items, but now in their eighties, the husband-and-wife duo have decided to retire having never taken a day off in all that time.

Villagers and those who have worked with the Morleys wanted to show their appreciation for the couple and their dedication to the job by giving them a memorable send-off.

A JustGiving page was set up so that friends and family could donate money for the couple to have a nice holiday.

Tracey Bird, who started the fundraiser and worked at The Red House for a long time, said: “Richard and Diana are looking forward to retirement but have mixed feelings about it because they have run the shop for so long.

“They get up early every morning despite the weather and if there are no paper boys and if the paper boys are late, they will go out themselves and deliver the papers. They are just the heart of the village.”

Sheila Mahony, who has lived in the village for 10 years, and is friends with the owners and their daughter, said: “It is such an unusual situation that they have worked in the village for 43 years not taken a single holiday. No one is like that anymore. They’re just a dying breed. These people are one in a million.”

Sarah Morley, their daughter said: “They are certainly very dedicated and I hope they provided a good service to the village. They have always been a big part of the community and know a lot of people in it.

“They have also tried to help people. Some that have been frightened to come out of their houses, especially during COVID. They go above and beyond what a normal newsagents would do.

“They are slightly nervous to retire and it has become very real all of a sudden. The shop has been their life but they will look forward to retirement and they can catch up on over 40 years of sleep. They certainly deserve it.”

The money raised will be a surprise for the couple who will be able to choose where they would like to kick off their retirement holiday.

To donate to the JustGiving page, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tracy-bird?utm_term=qBMWxD33j