Winners inspire loyalty and praise

Thirteen regional businesses triumphed in the quest to find Britain’s Best Rural Retailers.

Hundreds of local retailers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were nominated for the awards, launched last autumn by the Countryside Alliance in conjunction with British Food Fortnight and Farmers Weekly.

“The diversity has been phenomenal,” said Simon Hart, Countryside Alliance chief executive, who led the judging panel.

“From farm shops to butchers’, breweries to village shops, game dealers to farmers’ market stalls and delicatessens to farm co-operative stores, every nominee has inspired praise, loyalty and commitment from its customers.

Our 13 regional winners are all vital parts of their various communities.”

Regional winners each received a plaque at the House of Lords at the end of last month.

The title of overall Best Rural Retailer of the Year was awarded to Harrogate-based grocers Weeton’s (News, 27 January).

In the national contest, commended highly were Northern Ireland’s Chapmans fresh farm fruit and vegetables and the East of England winner Pink Pig Organic Farm Shop, near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.

A special commendation was given to South of England winner Sulgrave Village Shop, near Banbury, Oxfordshire.