Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Trio reach regional finals of countryside business awards

THREE West Somerset businesses have reached the regional finals of this year’s prestigious Countryside Alliance Awards.
The awards celebrate the characters, skills, traditions, and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick.
Countryside Alliance regional director Alison Hawes said: “There are some cracking finalists in this line up and I am very confident that there are a few who are in with a chance of going all the way in the all-UK final.
“This list represents the best of the region’s produce, skills, enterprise and community spirit.
“Choosing a winner in each category is going to be very hard.”
Among the finalists from West Somerset is the George Inn, Brompton Regis, which has been nominated for the Daily Telegraph ‘Best Traditional Business Award’.
With the village shop in Brompton Regis having to close earlier this year because of the loss of its Post Office, pub landlords Paul and Trish Randell decided to open a shop in their skittle alley.
It meant elderly people faced with having to drive into Dulverton could continue to obtain local deliveries, newspaper rounds, and locally-sourced food.
Another award finalist is the Winsford Stores, run by Paul and Jenny Lawson and nominated in the ‘Best Village Shop or Post Office’ category for commitment to keeping a vital village business going.
Despite the threat of closure of their Post Office, floods, and a bad tourist season, the couple invested in the refurbishment of the stores and continued to deliver a friendly, helpful, and much needed service in the village.
Nominated in the ‘Rural Enterprise Award’ category was Stockland Lovell Equestrian, in Fiddington.
Owners Michael and Hill have developed a 1,200-acre dairy farm into one of the top equestrian facilities in the country while continuing to milk 250 cows.
They host two major events a year, run schooling events, clinics, lectures, and demonstrations, host Pony Club and Riding Club camps, and provide facilities for individuals to spend quality time with their horses.
In addition, they have their own tack shop and treat their volunteers exceptionally well with ample food and drink supplied, as well as vouchers which may be used for schooling or in the tack shop.
Regional judging in the competition takes place between now and January, with the regional winners announced shortly afterwards.
The overall UK winners will be announced at a House of Lords reception next March.
  • Our photographs show (TOP) Stockland Lovell owners Lavinia and Michael Hill, with their sons Martin and Mark and dogs Bob and Marley, and (BELOW) Winsford Stores. Photos submitted.

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