Countryside Alliance Awards



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2011 North West Champions

The North West’s rural Champions of 2011 have been revealed in the Countryside Alliance Awards. The strong line up of local businesses will now head to the House of Lords in March to hear if they have scooped a national title.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are now in their seventh year of celebrating the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick. The Awards are public-nomination led, meaning each business is put forward by a supportive customer. Judging of a shortlist of businesses has now taken place and a regional winner declared in each category. The North West’s winners for 2011 are introduced by Simon Hamlyn, CA Regional Director for the North of England:

Local Food category

Winner: The Hollies Farm Shop, Little Budworth, Tarporley, Cheshire 01829 760414 Simon says: “The Hollies is extremely impressive – a farm shop that has diversified to now include a café, rustic accommodation in a sympathetic development of chalets and a butchery offer run by the renowned and highly experienced Andrew Vernon. Cheshire has a vast range of local produce which is showcased here, from the local pork, beef and lamb to cheeses, breads, fruit and veg. The Cowap family has transformed their farm into a significant and popular local business within the community with a strong emphasis on using local suppliers.  Their passion for what they do is apparent through the shop and they are a really deserving winner.”

Highly Commended: H.S.Bourne, Cheesemonger. Malpas, Cheshire 01948 770214 

Village Shop/ Post Office category

Winner: Antrobus Community Shop and PO, Antrobus, Knutsford, Northwich, Cheshire, 01606 891 992. Simon says: “One nomination proclaimed “The community shop is the best thing ever that has happened to our village” and you can really tell this is by the dedication and energy the volunteer network have put into to making the shop a crucial hub of the local community. Staffed entirely by volunteers, Antrobus is a model village shop – a community coming together to save and develop a valued resource with a great range of produce as well as the all-too-rare Post Office.  Well done and good luck for the future.”

Highly Commended: Storth Post Office, Storth, Nr Milnthorpe, Cumbria, 015395 63392

Enterprise category

Winner - Lyvennet Community Pub, Crosby Ravensworth, Penrith, Cumbria, 01931 715722 Simon says: “Still a very new venture – the Butchers Arms only opened its doors last summer but this community-pub has been saved by an extraordinary and tenacious group of villagers who recognized that when the pub closed in 2009 something had to be done to retain such a vital element of the fabric of village life. Believing that “Local ownership leads to support” this community owned and run enterprise has demonstrated this in spades, with share holders from as far afield as Australia. The pub is now thriving, has been sensitively developed, enjoying increased turnover and now local people, including hunts and nearby shoots, have a great place in to meet and enjoy their community.”
Highly commended - R Fiddlers Lancashire Crisps, Rufford, Lancashire, 01704 823572

Butcher category

Winner: NB Taylor and Sons, Milburn, Penrith, Cumbria, 017683 615 95 Simon says: “Truly local, high animal welfare standards, traceability – everything you need from a butcher. Sheep and cattle are reared and finished at Low Howgill Farm and pigs are sourced within Milburn parish. The traditional Beef Shorthorn beef is hung for at least 21 days ensuring exceptional taste. The butchery unit at Low Howgill is run by Steve Allison who cures his bacon and ham and produces his own unique and tasty sausage recipes and black pudding. The icing on the cake however is the hugely popular local delivery service that Taylors operate within the local community which means everyone can enjoy the finest local meat products without leaving the comfort of their home. For sheer hard work, quality, innovation and commitment to the community ethos, this is a clear winner.”

Highly Commended: Whitehead's Butchers, Edgworth, Bolton, Lancashire, 0843 259 2162