Suffolk Agricultural Association to host first ‘Oscars-style’ farming awards dinner

The first “Oscars” of the East Anglian farming world will be held at Trinity Park, home of the Suffolk Show, on Friday October 26.

The glittering event is the first of its type organised by the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA).

During the black tie celebratory occasion winners of the SAA’s annual Farm Business Competition and the prestigious Best Alternative Land Enterprise (BALE) awards will be announced.

GU pudding founder James Averdieck, who recently featured on Sky TVs Cooks to Market and sold out his start up business for �50million, will be guest speaker.

The aim of the BALE awards, sponsored since its inception 21 years ago by Ashton KCJ solicitors, is to find the best farming diversification business throughout Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

Previous winners have included Castle Farm, Swanton Morley, The Suffolk Food Hall, Wherstead, the Playbarn and Barn Club, Norfolk, and the Resting Pets Crematorium and Cemetery in Essex.

The winners, to be announced on the night, receive the Ashton KCJ Challenge Cup as well as �2000 of free legal advice with the runner up and best newcomer receiving �1000 of legal advice and a certificate, and complimentary tickets to the awards ceremony.

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J H Bunn the sponsors of the Farms Business Competition with individual awards sponsored by Baker Tilly, Larking Gowen, KOCH Advanced Nutrition and Atlas Fram.

This year’s nominations for the BALE Awards are: Joanna Burroughs, Wheatacre Hall Barns, near Beccles; Peter Havers, Log Cabin Holidays at Atherlington Hall, Eye; Tony Alston, Brockford Railway Siding, near Stowmarket; Guy Foskett, Foskett Willows, Ufford; Simper’s Deben Shellfish, Bawdsey, Woodbridge; J A & KE Salisbury for Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, Creeting St. Mary; R&P Baker Barrack Farm, Woolpit; Valley Farm Equestrian Leisure, Wickham Market.

In the Farm Business Competition, the finalists are: Small farms: Fletcher and Dunt, Park Farm, Charlsfield and Potsford Farm, Letheringham; PD and GS Mortimer, Fir Tree Farm, Metfield; R Jackson, East Anglia Ltd, Bramford; JA and KE Salisbury, Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, Creeting St Mary; JC Pirkis and Son, Keens Farm, Debach; Sarah Robertson, Valley Farm, Wickham Market.

Medium Farms: D T Alston/ Wallace Daniels Ltd, The Cedars, Brockford; Charles Mathieson/W A Howes - Crawley Hall, Norton for Crawley Hall, Grange Farm, Moat Farm, Barrack Farm and Brickworks and FBT for Felnor Properties; Michael Hinsley – Saker Estates Ltd, for The Rushford Estate; Mike Porter, Hill House Farm, Walpole; J R Grimsey Farms, Raydon Hall, Orford and Lodge Farm, Sudbourne; Nigel Rolph, for Grove Farm, Ufford.

Large Farms: John Brown and Sons for Church Farm, Hawstead and surrounding land; R H Forrest and Co, Mowness Hall, Elm Farm, Westwood Hall, Lodge Farm and Clamp Farm; Andrew Williams, for Home Farm, Nacton; David Black & Son, for Red House Farm, Bacton; Patrick Barker, for Lodge Farm, Westhorpe; R Wrinch Ltd, Roydon Hall, Whitehall and Holly Farm; Creeting St Peter;Geoffrey Mayhew Farms Ltd, Erwarton Hall Farm.

Yorkshire born James Averdieck is the founder of G� Chocolate Puddings.

Launched in May 2003 and sold seven years later for �50m, it remains one of the fastest growing food businesses.

G� revolutionised the quality of desserts and helped realise James’s dream to sell souffl�s to the French and chocolate to the Belgiums.

After graduating from Durham in 1988, James spent two years on the graduate programme at strategy consultants, Arthur D. Little, in Europe, US and the Middle East, consulting and discovering the key drivers to a successful business, but desperate to get closer to the coal-face.

He spent the next nine years in sales and marketing with Safeway and St Ivel, moving to Belgium and becoming a convert to Belgian gastronomy. It was here that the seed was sown for his UK chocolate and he saw the chance of marrying high quality chocolate patisserie with efficient UK supermarket distribution.

James and his family live in Suffolk.

SAA executive director Christopher Bushby said: “This is a natural time for celebration in the agricultural community. The harvest is in and this new awards dinner will recognise and reward endeavours at the culmination of the farming year. We are grateful to the BALE sponsors Ashton KCJ who continue to enthusiastically support the award and to generous new sponsors of the Farm Business Competition – J & H Bunn, supported by Atlas Fram Group, Baker Tilly, Larking Gowen and Koch Advanced Nitrogen. We are optimistic that this is the first of an annual event and have been encouraged by the responses to the event.”

Already 240 spaces are booked, but a few tables remain. Further details of how to book a table and tickets for the dinner, which includes a three course meal with wine, are available at www.suffolkshow/awards or by calling 01473 707118.