Yorkshire businesses swept the board at the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars), which were presented businesses by the Secretary of State for Defra, Owen Paterson MP, at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament yesterday (30 April).
Three of the four categories of the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards Champions for the UK & Ireland were won by Yorkshire businesses, plus a special award was made to a Yorkshire Rural Hero.
Joint-director of the awards, Sarah Lee said: “Yorkshire can be very proud! Its successes in this year’s awards are phenomenal. The standard of the awards nominees always improves year on year but that of the produce, industry and heritage from Yorkshire this year was outstanding and we are delighted to award them so many of the spoils.”
The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of the rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage of our small hard-working businesses. They are now in their ninth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “These awards celebrate rural businesses across the UK from post offices to butchers, they are the backbone of rural life and it is vital that we do all we can help create the right conditions to allow these businesses to compete and thrive.”
The Parliamentary reception was attended by Regional Champions from across the UK and Ireland and the national winners were announced live by Countryside Alliance Chairman Kate Hoey MP.
Winner: H Weatherhead & Sons Butchers, Yorkshire – www.weatherheadbutchers.co.uk
Judge’s comments: “Last year’s Yorkshire Champions return bigger and better than ever. Now with Q Guild status (the hallmark of the quality butcher) Weatherhead’s is soon to open a new shop nearby, giving more people the opportunity to try their phenomenal produce. The Weatherheads have been Pateley Bridge butchers for generations and have adapted and survived while remaining relevant and busy on the modern high street. A visit to their farm shows the commitment to animal welfare, traceability and taste – all things consumers should insist upon. The personal charisma of Andrew Weatherhead and his young daughter’s enthusiasm for farming mean the Weatherheads of Pateley Bridge are a brand to be reckoned with.”
Winner: Our Cow Molly, Dungworth, South Yorkshire – www.ourcowmolly.co.uk
Judge’s comments: “Just visiting this bustling dairy farm puts a smile on your face, and that’s before you’ve even tasted the ice-cream. With the dairy industry in freefall the Andrew family redoubled its
efforts to go the distance for the next generation – a gutsy move that has paid off. Eddie Andrew’s energy and commitment is richly deserving of this award.”
Winner: Spuds and Berries, Yorkshire (pictured) – www.spudsandberries.co.uk
Judge’s comments: “Laura Wass is still only 23, and having started up a pick-your-own on part of her parents’ farm, two years on she presides over a busy farm shop and extensive restaurant serving the best of Yorkshire produce. Laura is a no-nonsense businesswoman who acknowledges that being young and female in the farming industry often brings its own problems, but she has stayed focused on her mission of providing great produce and a meeting place for local people. The restaurant has only been open since November 2013 and already has wedding bookings for the year, which is a tribute to Laura’s marketing and business skills. With plans to extend the PYO and plant an orchard it is clear that Laura is a farming force for the future.”
A special Rural Hero award was also presented to May Stocks who runs the Highgate Farm Shop (01422 842897) on the Pennine Way at Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Her shop, known as the Aladdin’s Cave, stocks everything for the weary walker and local alike and her support for her local community, delivering papers and provisions and helping the sick and elderly, is what makes her a rural hero in our judges’ eyes.
Notes to editors:
• Find out more about the Awards at www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk
• High resolution photographs of winners and quotes are available from [email protected]
For more information contact the Countryside Alliance press office on 0207 840 9220