Nidderdale butcher Yorkshire champion again in Rural Oscars

Nidderdale butcher Yorkshire champion again in Rural Oscars

A Q Guild butcher has been chosen as Yorkshire champion in the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards for the second year running.

H Weatherhead & Sons Butchers in Pateley Bridge now has another opportunity to be crowned national champion in the annual awards, known as ‘The Rural Oscars.’

“To win the regional accolade for the second consecutive year is a fantastic achievement for a traditional family butcher and to again be in with a chance of becoming the nation’s best butcher reflects great credit on our entire team. To win it would be a dream come true,” said the High Street shop’s Andrew Weatherhead.

He is the fifth generation of the Weatherhead family to run the business, which, since being established in 1876, has been handed down from son to son. Andrew’s father Ian is still involved, primarily in sourcing top-notch primestock from the local auction marts, many show prize winners among them.

The shop also rears its own meat at Low Ling Park Farm in Ilkley, run by Andrew’s father-in-law Robert Gray, as well as sourcing direct from local Nidderdale farmers, with whom the business has developed and cemented field-to-plate partnerships over many years.

In addition to running a busy shop, Weatherhead’s also supplies meat to local pubs, restaurants and eateries, not only in the Pateley Bridge area, but also further afield to Upper Wharfedale, Ripon and Ilkley.

Awards judge Jill Grieve, head of communications at Countryside Alliance, who visited each shortlisted butcher in Yorkshire – the category is sponsored by The World of James Herriot in Thirsk – said: “Last year’s champions return bigger and better than ever. Now with Q Guild status – the hallmark of the quality butcher – Weatherheads have some phenomenal produce.

“They have been Pateley Bridge butchers for generations and have adapted and survived, while remaining relevant and busy on the modern high street. A visit to their farm shows the commitment to animal welfare, traceability and taste – all things consumers should insist upon.

“The personal charisma of Andrew Weatherhead and his young daughter’s enthusiasm for farming mean the Weatherheads of Pateley Bridge are a brand to be reckoned with.”

“Being a member of the Q Guild has upped our game significantly in terms of quality. All member butchers help and share their knowledge with each other, which has proved extremely valuable in helping us to improve and develop the business,” explained Andrew.

Two other Q Guild butchers, Bladgon Farm Shop in Seaton Burn, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Bonners of Ilminster in Somerset, have also been shortlisted for the best butchers category in their respective regional finals of the Countryside Alliance Awards. Winners will be announced in the near future.

Sandy Boyd, general manager of the Q Guild, said: “The Rural Oscars are the UK’s leading rural business, produce and community awards. We congratulate H Weatherhead & Sons Butchers on twice becoming Yorkshire regional champions and wish them all the best in the UK final. It would be some achievement if they were joined by our other two regional finalists.”

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