Independent retailer Nigel Dowdney has been crowned the Association of Convenience Stores' Community Hero 2008.

Dowdney, who has been a finalist in the competition every year since it was launched four years ago, runs two c-stores in Norfolk with his wife Shaz. He received the award for his work as chairman of the West Earlham Trade Association, which works to improve deprived areas in Norwich, as a trustee of the West Norwich Partnership, a charity set up to improve west Norwich, and as chairman of Buy Local (Norfolk), which promotes local business in the community.

"Nigel maintains a high level of campaigning on community issues and we received letters from councillors and business leaders supporting his entry and testifying to the dedication he has given to many initiatives," said James Lowman, CEO of the ACS.

Dowdney added: "To get recognition from our peers for our efforts reflects how important community retailing is to our sector."