Four countryside businesses from Oxfordshire, Northumberland, the midlands and Cumbria triumphed in Best Rural Retailer awards ceremony, staged last night (Wednesday 7th February) in the House of Lords, Westminster.
Organised by the Countryside Alliance, with support from Farmers Weekly and the Daily Telegraph, the awards celebrate the people who dedicate themselves to survival and preservation of rural communities and skills.
Before announcing the winners, CA chief executive Simon Hart praised their willingness to support local regional businesses, their dedication and their determination to serve their local communities.
Winner of the Best Local Food Retailer Award was Foxbury Farm Shop and butchery, Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. “This shop has vision but also celebrates the UK’s farming heritage,” said Mr Hart. “Foxbury ethics are Foxbury first, local second and British third and there is no fourth.”
Best Village Shop/Post Office was David Carr’s Corner Shop, Longframlington, Northumberland. “David is an ideal ambassador not just for his community but for local shopkeepers everywhere,” said Mr Hart.
Best Diversification was Langthorne’s Buffalo Produce, Northallerton, North Yorkshire. When Paul Langthorne’s son Andrew was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at an early age and could not drink cow’s milk, his father, already a dairy producer, bought a buffalo and spawned a successful diversification. Now a 250head buffalo herd provides meat, including an Iron Age burger and dairy products.
Winner of the Daily Telegraph Best Traditional Business was Alexander James of Pendlebury, Greater Manchester. “This family-run outfitter makes country sports and other traditional clothing and pride themselves on using only British textiles, hand tailoring and a traditional approach to customer service and customer needs,” said Mr Hart.
The four national winners, plus the commended entries were selected from a short list of 51 regional winners.
CA Chairman Kate Hoey MP urged everyone to support their local shop. “What you don’t use you lose: If people don’t use their local shop they will inevitably disappear,” she warned. Ms Hoey also hit out against: “The petty rules and restrictions that are against diversification.”
See this week’s Farmers Weekly for more details of the rural retailer winners.
Highly Commended: Rhug Organic Farm Shop, Corwen, Denbighshire, www.rhug.co.uk
Highly Commended: Abbotts Ann Village Shop Association, Abbotts Ann, Hampshire
Highly commended: Low Sizergh Barn, Low Sizergh, Cumbria www.lowsizerghbarn.co.uk
Highly commended: Cold Hanworth Forge, Cold Hanworth, Lincolnshire