Countryside Alliance Awards



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The champions of 2010

2010 champions  Print E-mail
The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, were handed out at a House of Lords reception on Wednesday 30th March. This year they included a special Lifetime Achievement Award for the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire for sparking the local food movement in the UK. 

The Countryside Alliance Awards have been running for six years and were set up to celebrate the characters, produce, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick. 

The British Champions first won their regional heats and then went forward to the grand final. The House of Lords reception was attended by regional winners from across Britain, as well as Parliamentarians supportive of rural business and produce. Defra Minister Richard Benyon MP and Shadow Defra Secretary Mary Creagh MP helped to hand out the awards to the British Champions and commendations. Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Alice Barnard announced the winners with the following citations:

Local Food Award: Farrington’s Farm Shop, Farrington Gurney, 01761 452266
: “Our regional judge declared this to be the best farm shop she has ever been to. And when Alison is impressed, you know it’s good! Tish & Andy Jeffery are tenant farmers who started off with 230 acres and 100 cows. Despite Foot and Mouth Farrington’s has now grown into a busy farm shop with its own bakery and cow-themed café with outdoor cow pat-io. There is huge enjoyment and humour here, and great efforts are made to connect customers with what they are buying, supporting local producers as they do so. Food demonstrations, cookery classes, tastings and a loyalty card scheme all involve the customer, and a commitment to animal welfare is also evident. Each month the Battery Hen Welfare Trust comes to Farrington’s with 500 ex-battery hens given to local people for retirement. Tish and Andy also offer a rural business consultancy to use the benefits of their own experience to encourage rural start-ups. This is a holistic business, where produce, customers and farming’s future are all paramount.”
Highly Commended: Ainsty Farm Shop, Green Hammerton, Yorkshire 01423 331897

Village Shop / Post Office Award: Yarpole Community Shop Association and Post Office, Yarpole, Leominster, Herefordshire 01568 780148 “This is an exceptional shop run by the community and based in St Leonard's church. In the 1950s there were seven local shops within the parish boundaries. By 2004 there were none, leaving this rural area bereft. Showing the community spirit and verve that this category celebrates, 326 parishioners bought shares in the shop, showing the commitment to its future. The project is the first full-time shop to operate within church premises, staffed by 30 volunteers. The shop stocks a huge amount of local produce and also houses a café in the church gallery which is attended regularly by the local Constable to offer advice and support to the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Yarpole village shop is the centre of this vibrant rural community, and we are proud to call it the best village shop in Britain.
Highly Commended: Robin Hill Stores, Marnhull, Dorset 01258 820266

Enterprise Award: Growing Well, Low Sizergh, Kendal, Cumbria, 015395 61777. “Tackling the stigma of mental health issues with a real energy, Growing Well uses farming and horticulture as a means of therapy for those in need of self esteem and confidence. This exceptional social enterprise was set up at Low Sizergh Farm at the invitation of the Park family who live there, and has gone from strength to strength since it began in 2002. It is ingenious to use nature as a healer in this way, and the enthusiastic team of volunteers who run the scheme also provide short courses open to all to find out more about growing and gardening. The organic growing business underpins the whole operation, and this year will enable the beginning of a formal collaboration with a consortium of local schools to enable 14-16 year olds who are not managing in formal education to come and train in horticulture. Community minded, enterprising, fully driven by a love of our countryside and rural heritage, Growing Well is a very worthy and inspiring winner.” 
Highly Commended: The Sheffield Honey Company, Yorkshire 07980 261554

Butcher Award: SW Doughty, Doddington, Kent 01795 886255. “I could not be happier for the Doughty family for this win. This charming business has been trading in the locality as butchers for over 150 years and the family has owned and run the shop and abattoir on its present site since 1919. Three family members and three local skilled butchers who have each worked in the shop for over 25 years mean the staff bring over 100 years of  butchery experience to the business. Animals are processed in the small Georgian abattoir one at a time, the pigs are still scalded in a tub and scoured by hand and all the carcasses are carefully dressed by hand and hung for a minimum of 2 weeks before they are cut to sell. The farming community values the abattoir service which those in the industry know is an increasingly rare yet important factor for animal welfare and quality. Doughtys go the distance for their local farmers who they value and support to the hilt. The shop also plays a central role in its devoted community; the character, friendliness and warmth of the team make Doughtys a very special place. Traditional quality, customer service and the benefit of huge skill and experience in butchery makes Doughtys the out and out winner.”
Highly Commended: Noel Chadwick Ltd, Standish, Lancashire 01257 421137

Daily Telegraph Traditional Business: Nursey of Bungay, Bungay, Suffolk 01986 892 821
. “Nursey Sheepskin started in 1790 and the family business spans five generations. Primarily a manufacturer and retailer of sheepskin clothing, they have also developed into producing high quality specialist equestrian saddles. Alongside this they manufacture own-label garments for a prestigious UK gun maker. Rejecting mechanisation, everything is still hand made at the Bungay factory, with the belief that no machine could display the care, skill and deft touch that a person can – and who could disagree? Nursey's shop is clearly part of the fabric of village life and every effort is made to engage the younger generation through apprentice schemes passing down a genuine skill. While so many garments are imported into the UK we are proud to celebrate and recognise our remaining skilled rural workforce and what it can achieve in a traditional field. While the manufacturing process at Nursey would still be recognised by the MD's great great grandfather, the business remains relevant to its modern setting and should be celebrated for that.”
Highly Commended: Mitchells Dairy, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire www.mitchells-scotland.com01467 621389

Hunter Rural Hero: The Racehorse Sanctuary, Cowfold, West Sussex 01403 865929 “This year’s Rural Hero is actually for two people who between them gave life to a charity that is breathtaking in its scope and ambition. Everyone in this room supports high animal welfare standards, whether that animal is wild, farmed, working or a beloved pet. In this instance, when I tell you that between four and five thousand horses leave the racing industry annually, the question for them is “what next”? Well, the majority of retirees make the transition to becoming a riding horse with ease. However, if a horse finds that transition difficult or if it is injured or has no viable future, our heroes at the Racehorse Sanctuary step in. With three centres, the sanctuary offers support and care to these horses and where possible finds them new homes. Entirely self funded and under huge pressure to help an increasing number of animals, Graham Oldfield & Sue Collins and their team are truly heroic, working entirely for the benefit of the animals and using their lifetime’s experience and love of horses to really make a difference.”

Hunter Junior Rural Hero: Tom and Lottie Sweet, Lampeter, Ceredigion
.Tom's website is and Lottie's is 01570 471295 “This Award is being given to two rather than one heroes because we could not choose between them. Our heroes are also from the same family, so there must be something in the water in the Lampeter area! Tom Sweet is 15 and took the exceptional step of setting up his own herb and spice business at the age 12 to help him build up his confidence.  Tom works incredibly hard to supply more and more shops within Wales and beyond and is about to launch his own curry kits. Tom has already received a Blue Peter badge but now he is also a Countryside Alliance Rural Hero. Meanwhile Tom’s sister, Lottie, is an 11 year old with an entrepreneurial flair that most people in this room would love to match. Lottie saved up for three years to realise her ambition of owning reindeer. Having saved up for two reindeer calves she now hires them out for events and finds they cause a stir at food and craft fairs. Lottie is now looking for sponsorship in order to buy a horsebox, showing that her company, "Sweet Deer", is only the beginning of her plans. Congratulations to Tom and Lottie, our Rural Heroes of 2010, for your hard work, your love of the countryside and your great ideas.” 

Lifetime Achievement Award: The Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire. The Award was collected by the Duke of Devonshire and the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire with members of the Chatsworth team 01246 583392. The citation was read by Countryside Alliance Board Member Lord Gardiner of Kimble: “It is my particular privilege to present the first Lifetime Achievement Award in the six year history of the Awards. They are about inspirational people, exceptional produce and the Great British down-to-earth rural work ethic. The Chatsworth Estate is an unlikely location for the start of a revolution, but the food and tourism revolution began there in the 70s. Britain has not looked back. The hundreds of people involved in the Chatsworth Estate deserve this proper recognition. Without the inspiration of the Devonshires and their team leading the way, we would not have such a thriving local food and rural tourism environment in the UK. The culture of direct sales from producers through the farm shop really began at Chatsworth. Heritage, education and produce, all to the highest possible standards are on show at Chatsworth.”