Yorkshire’s rural Champions of 2011 have been revealed in the Countryside Alliance Awards. The strong line up of local businesses will now head to the House of Lords in March to hear if they have scooped a national title.
The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are now in their seventh year of celebrating the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick. The Awards are public-nomination led, meaning each business is put forward by a supportive customer. Judging of a shortlist of businesses has now taken place and a regional winner declared in each category. Yorkshire’s winners for 2011 are introduced by Simon Hamlyn, CA Regional Director for the North of England:
Local Food category champion
Keelham Farm Shop, Brighouse and Denholme Road, Thornton, West Yorkshire, 01274 833 472 http://keelhamfarmshop.co.uk/. Simon says: “Keelham Farm Shop has won this title for the simple reason that they go above and beyond in their support of Yorkshire produce. Supporting a breathtaking 250 Yorkshire producers, customers know that what they are buying is of the highest standards, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Keelham is clearly a central part of the community and the Farm Shop supports local charities, sells customers’ excess vegetables and also provides a local bus service called the Keelham Shopper Hopper. The Countryside Alliance is particularly proud to support Keelham because of the educational work the team understake to reconnect our youngsters with out countryside. Yorkshire’s farming industry is a proud part of its heritage and encouraging children to embrace it through educational days is vital to the industry’s future, and children’s understanding of healthy eating. This shop is a great all rounder and I have very high hopes for it in the national finals.”
Highly Commended: Beningbrough Home Farm Shop, Beningborough, York, North Yorkshire
Village Shop/ Post Office category champion
Dale Stores, Birstwith, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 01423 770271 www.dalestores.co.uk. Simon says: “Dale Stores is exactly what a village shop should be – friendly, helpful, bursting with character and proudly supporting local food producers. Village shops play such vital roles in community life that the twin commitments to local produce and support for local people are often overlooked and taken for granted. Well I can tell from the charming nominations we received for Andrea and Matthew that they are appreciated and that the entire community is grateful for all they do and rightly proud of this win.”
Enterprise category champion
The Hovingham Village Market, Hovingham, York, North Yorkshire, 01653 627255, http://market.apcp.com/hovingham1.htm. Simon says: “Hovingham Village Market is something rather special. It is a community market and café run entirely by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis. Over 100 volunteers are part of the Market, which is impressive in itself, but what has happened here is remarkable: the project has not only brought people together, it has also given the many exceptional local food producers, farmers and growers in the area an outlet. Only two years old, the Countryside Alliance is proud to support this enterprising community and we wish it well in the future.”
Highly Commended: Wholecrop Marketing, Kirkburn, Driffield, East Yorkshire, 01377 217873, http://wholecropmarketing.co.uk
Butcher category joint champions
Ellisons Butchers, Cullingworth, Bradford, West Yorkshire, 01535 272 491 www.ellisonhogroast.co.uk/
Lishman's of Ilkley, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, 01943 609436, www.lishmansonline.co.uk.
Simon says: “It was impossible to choose between these two West Yorkshire outfits so I am commending them both to the National Judging panel. Ellisons excels in top quality meat, skilled butchery and hog roast hire while also cheering customers with their friendliness – nominations said that the team at Ellisons make everyone feel like part of the community which is an important factor in this award. Meanwhile Lishman’s also supportsWest Yorkshire’s farmers by selling high quality, traceable local produce. Owner David Lishman is a popular character who also sells game at his Ilkley shop, encouraging customers to try something new and helping with recipes. One nominee said of Lishman’s produce: “they take the fruits of the fields, handle it with care and compassion, and prepare it like a good landlord prepares his beer” which is a great comparison. Both of these butchers champion Yorkshire farmers and Yorkshire communities, and are worthy of great support and praise.”