Brian Fields said: “I’m chuffed to bits. Totally delighted. I’m not into football, but it feels as if I’ve won the World Cup. Last year we won the regional award, which I was delighted with as it was the first time we had entered. I asked for feedback to see where we could improve and it was the marketing, which I’ve done.”
In the past year Brian has invested in producing colour brochures for his customers, advising them on products on sale, deals on offer and preparation techniques, as well as a flatscreen TV playing a DVD of butchery in action, an email club and the restoration of a 1930s Model B Ford.
He added: “This makes it all worthwhile, which means a lot to me and my staff. Without my team I would not be able to do it on my own.”
The awards were presented during a glittering ceremony at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London, where guests enjoyed a lavish three-course meal and entertainment from rubgy legend Gareth Chilcott before the winners were announced.
Other winners on the night included Farmer Copleys Farm Shop, which won the Farm Shop of the Year award. Commenting on the win, Heather Copley said: “I am absolutely thrilled. We won two years ago, when we were much smaller, and coming down to the awards then inspired us to go back and make our business even better.
“We hope to bring a young butcher to the awards next year. We are huge supporters of the awards, we think they are fantastic.”
Entrants for Young Butcher of the Year were particularly strong this year, with all three candidates impressing judges with their skill and drive. There could only be one winner, however, and judges decided that Stewart McClymont of David Bennett & Son deserved the top prize.
Stewart said: “This is the first time I’ve entered something like this. I am in a state of shock. I’m still shocked. I never expected I would get so nervous. I got into butchery after I saw an advertisement outside a butcher’s for a washer-upper. That was when I was 14, so that was eight years ago now.”
The much-respected Allan Bennett won the Lifetime Achievement award for his outstanding contribution to the butchery sector.
Allan said: “I am over the moon. I was speechless when I collected the award and I have never been speechless before. It means everything; it has been a lifetime’s achievement and everything I have done has been for the trade. My ambition is to keep a retail trade on the high street and I will fight for that until my last breath.
“Butchery has always been much more than just a job, it has been my hobby and I love going into work every day. There is one person I want to thank who has been the biggest help in my life and that is my wife, who is absolutely wonderful.”
The 2009 Butcher’s Shop of the Year awards were sponsored by Bpex, Cherry Valley, Eblex, Weddel Swift, Harmony Farm, Lucas Ingredients, Meat Training Council, Scotch Butchers Club and Tican Chilled.
The full list of the 2009 Butcher’s Shop of the Year award winners is as follows:
Midlands & East of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year: Fields of Anlaby
North of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year: R Turnbull & Sons
Northern Ireland Butcher’s Shop of the Year: Stewart’s Butchers
Scottish Butcher’s Shop of the Year: Simon Howie Butchers
South of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year: Green’s of Pangbourne
Welsh Butcher’s Shop of the Year: Vaughan’s Family Butchers
Butcher’s Plus: Primacy Meats Food Village
Farm Shop of the Year: Farmer Copleys Farm Shop
Innovation of the Year: Aubrey Allen
Young Butcher of the Year: Stewart McClymont, David Bennett & Son
Lifetime Achievement Award: Allan Bennett
Butcher’s Shop of the Year: Fields of Anlaby