Sir; If the market needs evidence of the value of independent retailers - and cynics seem to need to overdose on it - then the story of David Ward, who runs a store at East Barkwith, Lincolnshire, is surely typical.

This week I presented David with a modest cheque on behalf of the My Shop Is Your Shop campaign.

He was the winner of a competition designed to encourage local retailer involvement in the community.

David will split the cheque between three ­local institutions: the local school, the swimming pool and the village hall. They all need funding help.

At the presentation ceremony in the shop it became clear to me again that the ­independent sole trader or family business is the guaranteed commercial platform on which the grocery ­sector will survive and prosper.

The local paper sent along a reporter to cover the ceremony. Customers involved in the community visited the shop to talk to David about the local amenities they used and made purchases while they chatted.

These customers were David's neighbours. Everyone at the event shared local community concerns.

It was small talk that was, in reality, business talk. It was about caring, friendship, socialising and local identity as well as trading.

If owner-managers need commercial guarantees of survival in a retail jungle, they will find guidance in the principles of My Shop Is Your Shop.

When you see it as I saw it this week in East Barkwith, you know it really works.

It's guaranteed. Community marketing needs formal recognition as an industry standard to protect wholesalers' market share.

It's an imperative for the future of the sector.