The eleventh annual Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the Rural Oscars, were presented by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 27th April.
The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage. The Champions’ reception in the Cholmondeley Room at Westminster saw over 40 businesses from across England and Wales, selected in November as finalists, celebrate rural Britain with supportive Parliamentarians and hear if they had won a title.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss voiced support for farming and the rural economy, telling the room:
“Rural businesses are the lifeblood of this country and its communities, contributing over £220 billion to our economy, so it is only right we celebrate 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 be able to celebrate their many wonderful achievements.
“They are ambassadors of thriving rural enterprise; something I am committed to boosting even further through our Rural Productivity Plan. This will improve technology and infrastructure, creating the conditions for rural growth.”
Highly Commended: John Robinson & Sons, Stockbridge, Hampshire. Tim Bonner said: “The commendation goes to a well-established, much-loved family butcher that has many, many strings to its bow. There are six full-time and four part-time butchers on staff, giving an idea of size and output. Apprentices are always in training and the family is very proud to support the next generation in this way. A huge amount is produced on site, but the shop is more than a butcher, it is a central part of this Hampshire community. The shop’s reach spreads well beyond the high street – for example hog roasts for the local hunt, butchery classes at nearby Sparsholt College, work experience for schoolchildren, ferreting trips for anyone who would like one (including late Rural Oscars judge Clarissa Dickson Wright, who was a fan). Currently members of the third generation are in charge, with the fourth and fifth coming along. Luckily there is a strong interest in traditional craft butchery and taking this many-layered business into the future.” Paul Robinson and the team collected their commendation from the Secretary of State. John Robinson & Sons, High St, Stockbridge SO20 6HF. Tel: 01264 810609
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