Philip Johnston, The Daily Telegraph

“It is always a great pleasure to judge the Countryside Alliance awards. The Daily Telegraph is proud to sponsor the prize for Best Village Shop/Post Office, an institution that along with the church and the pub is often the beating heart of a rural community. Yet as with much else in the countryside they are hard to maintain as viable businesses. I am sure that, as in the past, we will hear stirring stories of enterprise, initiative and success in the face of adversity.”

 

William Sitwell – Waitrose Food Editor, MasterChef critic and award-winning author

“I am delighted to be a judge on the 2017 Countryside Alliance Awards – these Awards reward the very best of our produce, entrepreneurial spirit and determination of those who run rural businesses. I am most looking forward to sampling some of the best produce our countryside has to offer and hearing inspirational stories of those who keep our rural communities alive.”

 

Emma Penny – Farmers Guardian

 “The Countryside Alliance Awards are a fantastic way to highlight and celebrate rural businesses. I am always inspired when I hear how everyone involved – from farmers to butchers, village shops to small businesses – has made a difference to their local community. As a judge I am often in awe about the challenges some of these businesses have overcome, and about the levels of passion and persistence which comes through in every entry.” 

 

Peter Gott, Sillfield Farm

“I am thrilled to be part of the Countryside Alliance awards once again. I am eager to taste the delicious food that our countryside has to offer and will be looking for those that truly take pride in what they do. These Awards mean so much not only to those who win, but to the whole community where the business based.”   

 

Sally Merison, Clarissa Judge

“In my opinion these awards are possibly one of the best things that the Countryside Alliance has done for the countryside! This is proved by the increasing number of ‘possibles’ and categories each year and the enthusiasm and pleasure shown by all the entrants. I am honoured to be a judge and look forward to learning about all these wonderful people, and their love for the countryside.”

 

Baroness Mallalieu, Clarissa Judge

“Rural businesses are the lifeblood of this country and its communities so it is only right we acknowledge the heroes that make our countryside great. I’ve seen first-hand how the nominees for the Countryside Alliance Awards represent the brilliance of rural Britain and I am delighted to part of celebrating their wonderful achievements.” 

 

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs