Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Night Celebrating the Heroes of the North East Countryside

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Night Celebrating the Heroes of the North East Countryside

Article excerpt

THE heroes of the region's countryside were celebrated at the North East's only awards event dedicated to our rural communities. More than 200 people came together to mark the second North East Rural Awards, organised by The Journal and The Chronicle, hosted by the BBC's Anna Foster, and held at Linden Hall in Northumberland, where 30 firms and individuals were nominated for prizes.

The black-tie event was opened by Darren Thwaites, Trinity Mirror North East editor-in-chief, who hailed the importance of the rural economy. He said: "Rural life is such an important part of North East culture - and it's also a hugely important part of our economy. With the general uncertainty around Brexit and the political environment in general, it's never been more important to champion rural issues and shout about our achievements.

"The Journal has always had a strong voice in supporting North East business and the rural community. Events like this cement our commitment to the region and to the issues that matter to you."

A total of 10 awards were handed out on the night, with awards singling out the champions within rural startups, tourism, food and drink and farming among others. And a special award was given to honour a true local hero, the late Christopher Leyland.

The pioneering Northumberland farmer and entrepreneur died last August at the age of 62, having been at the heart of his community for many years with his business ventures and charity work. Mr Leyland's wife Georgina was at the event to collect the rural hero award on behalf of the family. Battlesteads, at Wark, took the tourism and hospitality award.

The multi-award winning hotel and restaurant was taken on by Richard and Dee Slade in 2005, who have transformed the former farmstead into a destination renowned for its food, welcoming hospitality and outstanding 'green' credentials. Best rural start-up award went to The Pickle Palace, the Gateshead business which is successfully addressing the issue of food waste by using otherwise discarded fruit and vegetables to make chutneys and jams. …

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