THE owner of one of Wantage's best-loved and quirkiest shops is alive and well, it has been confirmed.

John Burgiss, who has run Wantage Novel Library in Newbury Street since 1951, is recovering from a fall last year but a close friend has said he is 'happy'.

It is not clear yet whether he plans to reopen the shop which he has lived above for decades, and which has been closed since April. Mr Burgiss bought the novel library for £5,000. Most recently it has sold a mixture of gemstones, books, games and sweets.