Yorkshire butcher takes ‘Rural Oscars’ award

British butchers were celebrated at the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards, presented at the Houses of Parliament.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, also known as the Rural Oscars, are some of the most prestigious awards in the industry and, this year, were presented by the Secretary of State for Defra Owen Paterson MP. Paterson said: “These awards celebrate rural businesses across the UK from post offices to butchers, they are the backbone of rural life and it is vital we do all we can to help create the right conditions to allow these businesses to compete and thrive.”

The butchers’ category was won by H Weatherhead & Sons, from Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire. The judges commented on its performance: “Last year’s Yorkshire champions return bigger and better than ever. Now with Q Guild status (the hallmark of the quality butcher) Weatherhead’s is soon to open a new shop nearby, giving more people the opportunity to try their phenomenal produce. The Weatherheads have been Pateley Bridge butchers for generations and have adapted and survived while remaining relevant and busy on the modern high street. A visit to their farm shows the commitment to animal welfare, traceability and taste – all things consumers should insist upon. The personal charisma of Andrew Weatherhead and his young daughter’s enthusiasm for farming mean the Weatherheads of Pateley Bridge are a brand to be reckoned with.”

Highly commended was awarded to Blagdon Farm Shop from Tyne & Wear and Dounby Butcher in Orkney.

A special Clarissa Dickson Wright award, in memory of the TV chef, was created this year to reward strong animal husbandry support, slow and artisan food and protecting farming heritage. It was won by Peter and Christine Gott, who run Sillfield Farm in Gatebeck in the Lake District, and sell meat from wild boar, rare-breed pigs, Herdwick sheep and rare-breed poultry.

Other categories included the Local Food Aware and Start-Up Company awards.

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