IN her day the bustling village shop had a place at the heart of the community.

But over the years 101-year-old Mabel Evans, of Hythe, has seen local stores get squeezed out as giant chain outlets have moved in.

However, this is one lady who will continue to fight to keep small shops going and still buys her bits and pieces from the independent traders in her town centre.

She threw her weight behind the Daily Echo Buy Local, Shop Local campaign.

She said: “It’s important to use local shops and support businesses before we lose them.

“I have shopped in small shops in Hythe for years and I’m going to carry on doing it.

The sprightly shopper pops into the local cafe Lily’s every day for a cuppa and then browses other stores in the high street.

Mabel represents what local shops are all about, according to traders.

Phyl Smith, 58, who co-owns Kays clothes shop, said: “Hythe is a lovely place with a real community spirit where everyone knows the people in the shops. Mabel has been coming in for a long time but we have had some customers for 20 years.

“A lot of the time people come in just for a chat. It’s nice if they buy something too, but local shops are about more than that.

“If the small shops closed down where would older people like Mabel go to do their shopping?”