Suffolk and Essex farmers' markets champion scoops national Countryside Alliance accolade
PUBLISHED: 08:38 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 21 June 2019
Suffolk Market Events,
A Suffolk farmers' markets dynamo said she was "immensely proud" after she scooped a top rural accolade.
Justine Paul, founder of Suffolk Market Events, took the Clarissa Dickson Wright Award at the annual Countryside Alliance Awards, which were held at the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday (June 19).
Baroness Mallalieu, chair of the judging panel and close friend to the late celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright of celebrated TV cookery series Two Fat Ladies, said she had been chosen from an "outstanding" pool of rural businessmen and women.
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"Along with my fellow judges we think that this year's winner will keep Clarissa's legacy alive and would have had her backing 100%," she said.
Ms Paul, who is a strong supporter of local producers, stepped in to save her local farmers' market in Lavenham and now runs six flourishing farmers' markets in Suffolk and Essex which act as community hubs and springboards for local producers.
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Suffolk Market Events was selected for the national award after being chosen from more than 18,000 nominations. Earlier, the business scooped the East of England Regional Award for Best Rural Enterprise.
"I am immensely proud of what Suffolk Market Events has achieved and continues to achieve in bringing top quality local producers and local communities together," said Ms Paul.
"Not only working in rural communities in our countryside but also bringing new farmers markets to towns like Ipswich and Colchester where access to good local food is just as important. We love what we do and we work with a fabulous group of producers and partners to make these markets and events successful.
This award and recognition of our achievements will just spur us on to do more to ensure we continue to connect local food to local communities."
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said he was "delighted" that the "brilliant efforts" of Suffolk Market Events had been recognised. "They run a number of popular markets in the South Suffolk constituency, including Hadleigh, Sudbury and Lavenham, and these events are a vital way to support local small businesses at a time when the conventional high street is under such pressure. I hope Suffolk Market Events use this accolade as a springboard to go from strength to strength," he said.
The Clarissa Dickson Wright Award was launched in 2013.