SAWTRY newsagent John Green, who owns the J R Green News Shop business, has been named Independent Magazine Retailer of the Year by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA).

The award forms part of the PPA MagSell Awards, which recognise excellence in magazine retailing.

Commenting on his achievements, the judges said: "John Green is an extremely proactive retailer who is passionate about selling magazines. He has worked to develop a number of innovative sales initiatives, such as a prize draw for magazine buyers and competitions with magazine brands.

"While John's store is not large, he gives a significant percentage of floor space to selling magazines.

"John's open-minded approach to developing his news business has meant that he has been involved in a number of sales initiatives with his wholesaler, distributor and publishers. When a new store opened nearby, John was able to compete by concentrating on his range and availability as well as driving Shop Save and Home News Delivery services."

Mr Green, who has been in the business for 38 years and sits on the national council of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, told The Hunts Post: "I've developed a few initiatives, such as the one that increased sales of Good Housekeeping from seven copies a year to 82 - and that was just one magazine.

"Even so, the win came as a complete surprise to me," added the newsagent, who delivers not just to homes in Sawtry but also to Alconbury and Woodwalton.

Surprise or not, he is ranked among the top 300 of 33,000 independent newsagents in the country.

John was handed his award at a presentation in his store by Kate McElroy, head of circulation at PPA and representatives from PPA's independent retailer group.

Ms McElroy added: "John is a worthy winner of the Independent Magazine Retailer of the. He is a tireless supporter of the category and has worked for many years to encourage other independents to follow his lead."

It is by no means his only award over the years. Three years ago he won a Magazine Week award, and he was one of the first to be recognised as a community retailer by Eddie Shah's Today newpaper in the 1980s.