Hawkesbury Stores and AJ Morgan Farm Produce have been announced as regional finalists in the 2017 Countryside Alliance Awards – known as the Rural Oscars – in the ‘Village Shop’ and ‘Food & Drink’ categories, respectively.

Our village is the only place in the region to boast two shortlisted enterprises! 

Staff and volunteers at Hawkesbury Stores

L-R: Sam, Pauline, Kate, Teresa and Ella in the Stores

The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food, farming, enterprise and heritage. Now in their thirteenth year, the Awards have become the definitive rural business prize. They are set apart from others because they are driven by public nominations, offering customers the chance to say why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim. The awards received over 11,000 nominations this year, so being shortlisted is impressive.

Chris Couzins-Short, Chair of the Stores’ Voluntary Management Group said: “We’re incredibly proud and excited that the community’s efforts have paid off by having Hawkesbury Stores shortlisted for a Rural Oscar. Further, we’re delighted that our wonderful, vibrant, thriving village has been recognised in two finalist places – what an achievement!”

Andrew Morgan, of AJ Morgan Farm Produce, said “We were so proud to have been nominated for a Rural Oscar. Now, to find out that we are one of only five finalists in our category for the South West region, is truly amazing. We can’t thank our customers enough for their support and recognition. It’s brilliant that two businesses in our village have got this far – it’s really put Hawkesbury Upton on the map!”

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”

More information about the awards can be found here: www.countryside-alliance.org/campaigns/caawards/

This story was featured in the local Gazette on 28 December 2017

Regional winners are due to be announced in March 2018.