WITHAM'S MP paid a visit to a new shop as it had its formal opening ceremony.

The Vegan and Organic Food Store in Witham was visited by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Ms Patel met business owner Ila Ahmed, and heard about her new venture, as well as performing a formal ribbon cutting opening ceremony.

The new store sells a variety of vegan, organic and gluten-free products aimed at helping local people to eat more healthily.

It also sells both hygiene and cleaning products too.

Ila, 45, from Witham, opened her new shop in the town after she felt there was a shortfall in the availability of healthy eating options.

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She said: “I felt that there was a shortfall in the availability of such healthy eating options in the area and, as I have always had a passionate interest and taste for such foods, I decided to try my hand at selling them from my own shop.”

After meeting Ila and formally opening the shop, Ms Patel said: “I am always delighted to see new businesses starting up in Witham and I wish Ila well with her new venture.

"Healthy eating is increasingly on the agenda for many of us and I was pleased to see the wide range of products the new store offers.

"I will be very interested to see how the store develops and I will be monitoring its progress in the future.”

Residents can find shop at 15, The Grove, in Witham, and it is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9.30 to 5pm, and is closed on Sundays.