Shooting stars shine at Yorkshire Post awards

Held in Harrogate last night (29 September) and sponsored by BASC, the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards, celebrated the very best of the county’s rural people and businesses.

In addition to headline sponsorship, BASC supported two further categories on the night, the Special Recognition Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Special Recognition Award was presented to Kate Matten and Caroline Bell, daughters of the late Judy Bell, who established the immensely successful Shepherds Purse Cheese

A stalwart of the Yorkshire food scene, Judy originally set out to create quality dairy alternatives for those with an allergy to cow’s milk. Employing 35 people, the business is now run by her two daughters, both of whom were clearly moved by the occasion.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, also sponsored by BASC, was this year presented to Nigel Pulling (pictured above), who retired as Yorkshire Agricultural Society chief executive earlier this year after 20 years at the helm. 

Highly respected for his work in cementing the future of the Great Yorkshire Show, Nigel’s first year in charge was 2001, which was the only other time the show was cancelled outside of the two world wars, in that case due to Foot and Mouth.

Caroline Bell & Kate Matten from Shepherd's Purse Cheese received the Special Recognition Award

Recognition for the shooting community 

The title of Rural Exporter of the Year was award to wild game meat processors, Ox Close Fine Foods. Based in Wetherby, Ox Close sell in-the-feather and oven-ready game to customers in Europe and across the UK. 

On hand to collect the award was Nigel Lister, who established the company, which is now managed day-to-day by his son Nick, in 1987.

As well as being quick to praise Nick running the business, Nigel added: “It means an enormous amount. After 30 years in the game business it’s the first thing we’ve ever won and we’re absolutely chuffed to bits.”

Nigel Pulling from Ox Close Fine Foods accepted the award for Rural Exporter of the Year

The Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estate’s wildfire risk management was crowned Sustainable Initiative of the Year for its role in a pioneering wildfire risk study. It is involved in the Peak District National Park Authority, Natural England and Incendium Group 

The study is a breakthrough piece of research and one which will underpin the development of a proper wildfire mitigation strategy for the UK’s largest carbon store – peatlands. 

Speaking on behalf of the Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estate, Ruth Battye, assistant estate administrator said: “Through the project we’ve learned a lot about wildfire and the risk in the Peak District. We just hope that the work that we’ve done so far will really achieve something going forward and will be of use to many other people and organisations across the country.”

The award for Sustainable Initiative of the Year went to the Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estate

A full list of award winners will be published on the Yorkshire Post website here.