A NEWSAGENT closed its doors and ceased trading despite the best efforts and protests of its loyal customers and a campaigning county councillor.

Martin’s in Shrub End, Colchester, closed on Friday following a lengthy battle to remain open.

Its future was initially thrown into doubt in February after McColl’s - the retail group that owns the shop - informed staff it would be looking to close the popular convenience store within six weeks, as a result of its dwindling profits.

The shop, which has been described by regulars as both a major part of the community and their childhoods, was thrown a glimmer of hope, however, when an online petition against the closure was started by councillor Dave Harris.

It has since received the support of more than 130 people.

Dave Harris, who started campaigning two weeks after employees were told of their predicted redundancies, said: ‘‘I put the petition together and then sent it to McColl’s’ head office but they replied saying they weren’t going to reverse their decision.

‘‘I even said to them I was prepared to work for the shop along with the community to try to boost their income.’

‘‘I was devastated when they decided to close it because little shops like this all over Colchester are absolutely vital and they were lovely people in there and the staff are just absolutely brilliant, they really are.’’

Since the news of the closure was posted in a Facebook group made up of Shrub End residents, customers have rushed to praise the shop’s employees, Cindy, Kyle and Paul, with many describing it as ‘‘an end of an era’’.

Writing on the fundraising page, customer Barbara Davis said: ‘‘I use this newsagent every day and the staff are helpful and friendly.

“I would be sad to see it go after being here for many, many years.’’

Kevin Starling, 63, of Eldred Avenue, added: It is sad it’s closing, because it’s a community hub and the dedicated, long-serving staff have made several friends among us over the years, so it will be missed by regulars.’’