The entries have flooded in and our expert panel of judges has met to deliberate over the best examples of success in Yorkshire’s countryside communities, and so today Country Week can reveal the shortlist for The Yorkshire Post’s inaugural Rural Awards.
Held for the first time this year and sponsored by Bishop Burton College near Beverley, our new awards will celebrate and share the stories of individuals, businesses and community organisations that contribute so much to the vibrancy and resilience of rural Yorkshire.
Launching the awards in July, we called for entries and nominations across 12 categories but such was the response in the Farm Shop category, we have split this in two to celebrate enterprises operating on different economies of scale.
Our judges have admitted finding the going tough to select their winners from a strong field of submissions but their duty has been faithfully carried out and attention now turns to the black tie awards ceremony where our winners will step into the spotlight on Thursday, October 12.
Taking place at Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground, the ceremony opens at 7pm with a drinks reception. A three-course meal will follow and a live performance by Halifax-based singer Julie Diamond.
The host for the night will be BBC television presenter and journalist, Harry Gration, and a silent auction will be staged to raise vital funds for our two chosen charities – farming community welfare charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, and Wetherby-based Autism Angels, which works with parents and professionals to improve the lives of children.
Reflecting on the judging process, Dorothy Fairburn, regional director of the Country Land and Business Association and a member of our panel, said: “It was encouraging to see a very good selection of nominees and entries which reflects the state of Yorkshire’s rural economy.
“The Yorkshire Post needs to be commended on this initiative in recognising the efforts of rural enterprises, and the vital contribution it makes to Yorkshire’s economy.”
Charles Mills, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s show director who also helped to select the winners, added: “It was a tremendous honour to judge The Yorkshire Post Rural Awards and the standard was extremely high.
“Everyone who entered should be proud, it was a tough choice for us as judges. We look forward to an exciting evening ahead.” Adam Bedford, regional director of the National Farmers’ Union, and Jeanette Dawson, principal and chief executive of Bishop Burton College, also acted as judges.
James Mitchinson, editor of The Yorkshire Post, said: “We absolutely cannot wait for our awards night, which promises to be a wonderful occasion where we will be applauding the unstinting dedication and devotion to maintaining a quality way of life in rural Yorkshire.
“At the end of a long, hard season in the fields for farmers and their families, what better time to toast the people at the heart of our success in the countryside.”
Tickets for the awards ceremony are available here.
SHORTLIST IN FULL
Farmer of the Year: Roger Nicholson, Robert Nicholson and David Nicholson (jointly) of Cannon Hall Farm, J & S R Thompson of Moss Valley Fine Meats, Christine Ryder of Scaife Hall Farm, Caroline Bell of Acorn Dairy, and Rob Copley of Farmer Copley’s.
Young Farmer of the Year: Danny Sykes, Fimber Nab Farm; James Kilner, Heap Field Farm, and Josh Lawn, East Manyfields Farm.
Rural Tourist Attraction: Thornton Hall Country Park, Yorkshire Heart Vineyard, Cannon Hall Farm and eDub Trips Ltd.
Large Farm Shop: Cannon Hall Farm Shop, Drewton’s Farm Shop, Bolster Moor Farm & Coffee Shop, Stepney Hill Farm Shop and Keelham Farm Shop.
Small Farm Shop: Minskip Farm Shop, Cedarbarn Farm Shop, Lister’s Farm Shop, Beadlam Grange Farm Shop & Tearoom and Terrington Village Stores & Tearooms.
Student/Apprentice of the Year: Martina Robinson, Bishop Burton College, and Chris Baines, Askham Bryan College.
Diversification Award: The Stables at Cross Butts Farm, Yummy Yorkshire, Moss Valley Fine Meats, Wold Top Brewery, Little Wold Vineyard and Vale of Pickering Caravan Park.
Professional Service to the Communit: Alison Clayton, agronomist, and Liz Sheard, general secretary for Danby Agricultural Show.
Show Volunteer of the Year: Billy Platts, Woolley Show and Margaret Chapman, Great Yorkshire Show.
Community Group of the Year: The Park (Kilnwick), Otley & District Dales Branch Dry Stone Walling Association, Slow The Flow (Calderdale), Walter Head and the Little White Bus, Tockwith& District Show Committee, Yorkshire Greenspace Alliance and Jumblies (Sheriff Hutton).
Rural High Street or Rural Retailer: Staal Smokehouse Ltd, Campbells of Leyburn, The Robert E Fuller Gallery, Fodder, Monk Fryston Post Office and Hunters Of Helmsley.
Vet of the Year: To be revealed on the night.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dave Clark, Agrii Ltd, John Richardson, chairman of Johnsons of Whixley and Roger Nicholson, Cannon Hall Farm.