Countryside Alliance Awards




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We honour the cream of Welsh rural business at Cardiff Bay

The Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) have celebrated their tenth anniversary at the Welsh Assembly with a special “Champion of Champions” event on Wednesday 22nd April. Cross party politicians presented four Champion of Champions prizes to former Welsh title holders Hootons Homegrown, Morgans Newsagents, Gower Brewery and Andrew Rees the butcher. The winners were voted for in a public vote with all previous Welsh competing. Over 6,000 votes were polled and the Awards were kindly sponsored by Western Power Distribution. 

Countryside Alliance Director for Wales Rachel Evans welcomed representatives of over 25 businesses to the event, all winners in previous years, and told them that Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, sent a message of congratulations for their achievements and contributions to rural life.

Rachel paid tribute to all the competing businesses for helping to make the Rural Oscars such a success, telling the assembled guests: “Being part of this process has definitely brought us as a team great admiration for what our finalists do, brought us happiness, occasionally tears, but importantly a terrific sense of pride in being able to honour you and your businesses and on behalf of the CA team may I thank you all sincerely for embracing the awards as you have done. We do feel that we have made such great friends through the Rural Oscars. You are all our rural heroes and we applaud you.”

The winners were announced across four categories and the coveted “Champion of Champions” cream and gold plaques were awarded.

The previous champions competing in the Local Food category were:

• House of Rhug, Corwen
• Llwynhelyg Farm Shop, Llandysul
• Swans’ Farm Shop, Mold
• Daphne’s Welsh Lamb, Henllan, Denbigh
• Cwmcerrig Fam Shop and Grill, Cross Hands
• Hawardens Farm Shop, Flintshire
• Hootons Home Grown, Anglesey
• Old Stables Tea Room Hay On Wye

Rachel Evans told the reception: “This traditional farm shop has evolved from a roadside “pick your own” field with a small table as the “shop” to the versatile business it is today. This really is a shining example of a farm shop that really does have “local food” so much so in fact that many items are labelled “no food miles”! All the meat for the butchery is reared on the farm. Vegetables and fruit are grown here too, with surplus being made use of either in ready meals, pies or preserves and the quality of the products has to be just right. An array of local food and delights baked with loving hands entice you to fill your basket. The quality of the meat in the butchery section is a treat to see and customers can have confidence in knowing that it is reared literally yards away from the shop. Indeed you will find it impossible to leave empty handed! I am delighted to award the first prize in this section to Hootons home grown, of Brynsiencyn, Anglesey.” Llyr Gryffudd AM presented this award.
Gwydryn Hîr, Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, LL61 6HQ 01248 430322




In the Best Village Shop and Post Office the previous champions in contention were:

• Hayden and Myra Bowen of Dingestow Village Shop & Post Office.
• Win & Richard Morgan of Morgan’s Newsagents, Llangadog.
• Vanessa Griffiths and her team of Henllan Village Shop, Denbigh
• Cwmdu Village Shop, Talley
• Morley House (Llangoed Post Office) Beaumaris Anglesey

Rachel said: “Our Champion of Champions award goes to a family run business that has been the heart of the community for very nearly a century. Recently the 3rd generation has secured the future of the shop despite a continued effort by the Post Office to take away a vital source of footfall and income. Over the years it has been much about the people behind the shop counter and their passion and commitment to their rural community and is most definitely “more than just a post office”. Known as “the Kate Winslet and Leonardo de-Caprio of the Rural Oscars.” The winners of this category are Morgan’s Newsagents and Post Office, Llangadog.”
Keith Davies AM presented the award.
Morgan's Newsagents, Llangadog 01550 777697





In the Traditional category the previous champions in contention were:

• Andrew J Rees & Sons Narberth
• William Lloyd Williams and Son
• ET Jones and Sons and Daughter, Anglesey
• Owains Butchers Aberaeron
• N S James, Raglan
• T J Roberts, Bala
And a special mention for:
The late Mr Brian Jennings, Rhydlewis Smokery, Llandysul.

Rachel Evans commented: “The citation for this award could be for any one of our finalists in this category. The Champion of Champions award goes to first and foremost an outstanding butcher, passionate about supporting the local farming community and ensuring customers have the absolute best quality meat with low food miles. He is also at the heart of this market town’s life and is, as the Telegraph said when he first won, “prepared to trudge that extra wet Welsh mile” for his customers. His support for local food producers, schools, charities and his commitment to sustaining rural community life makes him a worthy winner. Voted in by his customers from far and wide, the winner is Andrew J Rees & Sons of Narberth.” William Powell AM presented this award.
Andrew Rees & Sons Ltd, 29 High Street, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, SA67 7AS, 01834 861892 @ReesButchers





The former Enterprise champions in contention were:

• Grandma’s Stories, Carmarthenshire
• Llyn Y Fan Hatchery, LLanddeusant, Carmarthenshire
• Bob Valentine Shooting School, Gwynedd
• Capestone Organic Poultry, Pembrokeshire
• The Gower Brewery Ltd, Gower
• Nom Nom Chocolate, Carmarthenshire.

Rachel Evans told the reception: “This remarkable enterprise was set up against financial barriers in a time of economic recession. The votes for this winner came in from the length and breadth of Wales – and beyond as their enterprise has grown in to one of the best of its kind, I would think, in the UK. The idea for this business came forward in August 2011 and the first brew for this remarkable brewery took place on the 11/11/11. Producing high quality real ales has proved to be a winner and within six months they were supplying 99% of the freehouses on the Gower Peninsula with casks and by the Autumn of 2012 they had sold in addition to this, over 30,000 bottles. There is no waste either as leftover grain is used to feed sheep. Their lamb is then in turn purchased for the two public houses that are associated with the company. Now that’s a great example of recycling! Ambitious plans have come to fruition with the recent development of a new bottling plant providing yet more jobs for the rural area. I am delighted to announce that The Gower Brewery have been voted in as the Champions of Champions!” Russell George AM presented this award
Gower Brewery, Oldwalls, Swansea 01792 391027 @GowerBrewery


• The 2015 Awards will open to public nomination in late summer

• Follow us on Twitter @CAAwards and use the hashtag #RuralOscars


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Dike & Son from Dorset won the SW Food Award

Coverage for the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards (nicknamed the Rural Oscars) generated media coverage that reached millions. Here is just some of that coverage, ranging from national acclaim in the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Mirror to regional coverage in the Orcadian, the Newcastle Journal and the Wilts & Glos Standard, to name a few.
The Daily Telegraph: Is this the best village shop in Britain?
The Sunday Mirror: The Supergran who's been Open All hours for the last 40 years
Gloucestershire Echo: Countryside Alliance award-winners, Eat Wild, to open a new restaurant in Cirencester
The Star: Our Cow Molly is cream of the nation
Sheffield Telegraph: Sheffield’s Our Cow Molly wins best Local Food award
The Westmorland Gazette: Gatebeck farming couple win special Clarissa Dickson Wright Award in Rural Oscars
The Ilkley Gazette: National award for Ilkley rural business
The Journal: Blagdon Farm Shop glitters at Rural Oscars
Bradford Telegraph & Argus: Butchers carve out award win
Morpeth Herald: Butcher wins high praise in Parliament
Meat Info: Yorkshire butcher takes ‘Rural Oscars’ award
Salisbury Journal: Chalke Valley Stores is voted best in the land
The Orcadian: Dounby butchers highly commended at ‘rural oscars’
Wilts & Glos Standard: Ampney Crucis brothers win Countryside Alliance Award for meat supplier business Eat Wild
Berwick Advertiser: Sunnyhills wins ‘rural oscars’ award
Salisbury Journal: Award for community store
Blackmore Vale Magazine: Rural oscar for Stalbridge business
Canterbury Times: Farm named Local Food Champion in the South East
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner: Holme Valley pub-turned-shop wins Countryside Alliance Rural Oscar.
Meat Nidderdale butcher Yorkshire champion again in Rural Oscars
Evesham Journal: Chadbury Farm Shop has something for everyone


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Clarissa Dickson Wright Award to be presented at Parliament

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Countryside Alliance has announced that an inaugural Clarissa Dickson Wright Award will be presented at Parliament on Wednesday 30th April during the Countryside Alliance Awards reception. Clarissa had been a longstanding judge in the Awards, which are an annual celebration of UK produce and rural life. The UK finals will be held at Parliament on 30th April and will be attended by regional winners from across the UK, as well as supportive Parliamentarians. This Award, which was created in Clarissa's name with her approval before her sad death in March, will be presented to her own criteria. The winner's plaque, in claret and gold as chosen by Clarissa, will be announced by Countryside Alliance President and Clarissa's friend Baroness Mallalieu. More will follow after the reception.

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A tribute to Rural Oscars Judge and countryside champion, Clarissa Dickson Wright

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The countryside has been saddened by the news of the death of our great friend and Rural Oscars judge, Clarissa Dickson Wright. Clarissa was our longest serving judge - a fact of which she was extremely proud - and her stalwart support for our food producers and rural businesses will be missed very much. We are proud to have had Clarissa as a judge, her instincts were always spot on and she always revelled in the decision making process followed by the celebrations at Parliament when she got to meet so many rural business men and women - leaving them all starstruck. Clarissa was a public figure who was beloved by many, and we pledge to continue her work, fighting for fair food labelling and speaking out on behalf of our hard working rural businesses. Clarissa's great friend, Countryside Alliance President Baroness Mallalieu, has written a touching tribute and you can read it in full below.

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CA Awards launched in Northumberland

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

On Thursday 19th September Countryside Regional Director Simon Hamlyn and North East Countryside Alliance Awards Judge Anne Marie Trevelyan (pictured) launched the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards in the North East. The event, held at the Kitchen Garden at Meldon Park near Morpeth, was attended by rural businessmen and women from across the North East, all keen to hear about the Awards, nicknamed the Rural Oscars, and their positive impact.

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