The winners of the North East’s Countryside Alliance awards, dubbed the rural oscars, were announced at a ceremony at Blagdon Hall last night.
The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. They are now in their ninth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.
And Sunnyhills of Belford flew the flag for north Northumberland by scooping the local food award, beating off competition from G&S Organics of Longframlington, Whitley Bay’s Your Local Larder and Broom House Farm at Witton Gilbert.
Conservative parliamentary candidate, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, was judging the awards for the region. She said: “This is a great shop, developed by a farming family since 1973 into the farm shop, butchery, deli, family friendly café and play area and gift shop there today, all the while remaining a working farm.
“The family have evolved the business in this way, as they say themselves, ‘to allow us to showcase the best of local produce and to create a retail environment for both visitors to Northumberland and our local community’. There is no nobler aim and Sunnyhills is an exceptional ambassador for farming, other producers and the enjoyment of local produce.”
Elsewhere in the awards Etal Post Office and Lavender Tea Rooms was highly commended in the village store and Post Office category, which was won by Bardon Mill Village Store and Tea Room.
The Stone Cottage Bakery, run by Sarah Hutchinson of Alnwick, lost out to the Kitchen Garden at Meldon which won the start-up award, with Zen Bakery at Bellingham highly commended in the category.
And Blagdon Farm Shop took the local butcher award with North Acomb Farm Shop highly commended meaning R Green in Longframlington lost out.
The winners of the regional awards will now represent the North East at the UK & Northern Ireland finals at Parliament in Westminster on April 30.