Suffolk and Essex firms make regional shortlist for the Countryside Alliance Awards

Sarah Lee, director of the Countryside Alliance Awards.

Sarah Lee, director of the Countryside Alliance Awards. - Credit: Archant

Six rural businesses from Suffolk and North Essex have been named among the regional finalists in the 2017 Countryside Alliance Awards.

They include two businesses from Otley, near Ipswich - Otley Villages Stores, which is shortlisted in the Village Shop/Post Office category, and the White Hart, which is a finalist in the Pub category, newly launched this year.

Three of the five finalists in the Local Food/Drink category are from Suffolk, including the Willow Tree Farm Shop in Glemsford, near Sudbury, Maypole Pork from Bradfield St George, near Bury St Edmunds, and Heath Farm at Rougham, near Bury st Edmunds.

And Finchingfield Post Office and Village Stores, at Finchingfield, near Braintree, is also shortlisted in the Village Shop/Post Office category.

The regional champions are due to be announced in March 2018, with the winners then going forward to the national final to be held in April at the House of Lords in Westminster.

The Countryside Alliance Awards are now in their 13th year. Other categories include Rural Enterprise and Butcher.

Countryside Alliance Awards director Sarah Lee said: “This has been a record year for nominations, showing how much the public values and supports our hard-working rural businessmen and women.

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“For these finalists to get this far is already an exceptional achievement and I look forward to meeting them as judging gets underway. The ‘Rural Oscars’ were set up to champion those who go the extra mile for their communities and it is an honour to offer a voice to rural business in this way.”