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Environment Secretary honours Rural Oscars Champions at Parliament

The Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) have celebrated their tenth anniversary at Parliament with the Environment Secretary, the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, presenting four Champion of Champions prizes to former UK & Ireland title holders. The winners were voted for in a public vote with all previous UK and Ireland Champions competing. Over 30,000 votes were polled.

The Environment Secretary, the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, commented: “This event is a brilliant opportunity to showcase our rural heroes who promote the best our countryside has to offer, helping to build a stronger economy.

“This year’s awards are in their tenth year and the high quality of entries shows just how much we have to celebrate. Our countryside businesses, from village shops to family run farms, are crucial to the future of our economy and make it the exciting, vibrant powerhouse it is today.

“I’m especially passionate about increasing the opportunity at every level to choose healthy, seasonal, local produce. That’s why we back the Local Food award and this year’s winner, Oliver Paul from Suffolk Food Hall, is doing fantastic work encouraging more people to eat locally and support our farmers.

“We’re also unlocking the huge potential for growth in the countryside through supporting rural businesses, better transport links and speedier broadband, so that more entrepreneurs can make the most of every opportunity available to them.”

The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. They have in their ten years of operation become the definitive rural business award to win. Thousands of businesses have been nominated during the 10 years of the Awards, with over 35,000 public nominations recommending them for honours.

The 10th anniversary Awards Champion of Champions have been crowned in each of four categories. Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner introduced the winners at a packed Parliamentary reception in the House of Lords:

Local Food Champion of Champions - Suffolk Food Hall

Oliver Paul, Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk 01473 786610 Email: - Twitter: @suffolkfoodhall
Barney White-Spunner told the reception: “I am delighted to Award the special Local Food Champion of Champions plaque to the team from Suffolk Food Hall. Set up by farmers for farmers, all the produce is sourced from as near to the enterprise as possible. The shop is a converted cattle shed where produce from the owners’ farm is sold alongside that of a huge range of local producers. Suffolk Food Hall also houses a restaurant, butcher, bakery, wine merchant, café, fishmongers, deli and garden centre.”

Photo l-r Gemma Melton of Suffolk Food Hall, Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP, Oliver Paul of Suffolk Food Hall and Abby Bumstead of Suffolk Food Hall



Village Shop/ Post Office Champion of Champions - Ludwell Stores, Wiltshire

Phil and Jo James, Ludwell Stores and Post Office, Ludwell, Shaftesbury, Wiltshire, 01747 828227 Twitter: @LudwellStores
Barney White-Spunner told the reception: “I am thrilled to declare that the winners of the Village Shop/ Post Office Champion of Champions plaque are Phil and Jo James, who run Ludwell Village Stores in Wiltshire. Phil and Jo run far more than just a village shop – it is an outlet for local artists, runs an oil buying group and a Post Office counter and it also boasts 4,000 lines of stock, including far more local produce than any supermarket.”

Photo l-r Jo James from Ludwell Stores, Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP, Phil James of Ludwell Stores



Enterprise Champion of Champions - Park Hill Farm, Shropshire

Pat and John Pimlott, Park Hill Farm, Hales, Market Drayton, Shropshire 01630 652178 Twitter: @ppimlott
Barney White-Spunner said: “I am pleased to announce that the Enterprise Champion of Champions are Park Hill Farm, the family run farm, farm shop and outdoor classroom. Not only do Pat and John raise British breeds of beef and pork which they sell direct from their shop and at farmers markets, the farm has been developed over the last four years alongside a local Children's University and the Sensory Trust to provide a safe visitor experience for all age groups and abilities. The Pimlotts encourage schools, clubs, societies and interest groups to use the farm as an educational resource.”

Photo l-r Amelia Pimlott of Park Hill Farm, Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP, John Pimlott and Pat Pimlott, owners of Park Hill Farm



Traditional Business Champion of Champions - Nolan's of Kilcullen, Co. Kildare

James and Emma Nolan, Nolan’s of Kilcullen, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare 045 481229 @EmmaNolan2012
Barney White-Spunner told the reception: “The postbag for this category was the biggest of the lot so it is very clear how loved and valued these businesses are. However, there is one clear winner and I am delighted to be able to tell you that our Traditional Business Champion of Champions is Nolan’s of Kilcullen, the family business that began trading in 1886 and goes from strength to strength. With an on-site abattoir which also benefits local farmers, the traceability, quality and taste of the produce on offer at Nolan’s is breath-taking.”

Photo l-r Irish Agricultural Attache Mary McCarthy, Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP, James Nolan, Emma Nolan


The Clarissa Dickson Wright Award - Peelham Farm, Berwickshire

Denise and Chris Walton, Peelham Farm, Foulden, Berwickshire, TD15 1UG. Tel 01890 781328

“The 2015 Clarissa Dickson Wright Award winners have combined farming heritage, rare breeds and organic production into an enterprise that not only produces high quality food, but is environmentally sustainable and recognises that the key to the future of farming is educating consumers, not preaching at them.” Read the full citation here.

Pictured l-r Lord Walton of Detchant, Chris Walton of Peelham Farm, Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP, Denise Daly-Walton of Peelham Farm, Angus Walton of Peelham Farm, Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm in Cumbria (the inaugural winner of this Award and part of the "Clarissa committee" to take our friend's legacy forward.)


General email:

The Awards hotline is: 0207 840 9340

Our Welsh Champion of Champions will be announced at a reception at Cardiff Bay on 22nd April.

Nominations for the 2015 Countryside Alliance Awards will open in Autumn 2015. 


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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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