Nidderdale butchers H Weatherhead & Sons, which has its own farm in Ilkley, have been crowned UK champions in the Countryside Alliance Awards.
The High Street shop, chosen as Yorkshire regional champions in the annual awards for the past two years, progressed to win the overall national title in the Countryside Alliance Awards for the UK & Ireland.
It was presented to Weatherhead’s by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson, at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on April 30.
The shop rears meat for the shop at Low Ling Park Farm in Ilkley, run by Andrew Weatherhead’s father-in-law Robert Gray.
Mr Weatherhead said: “While we have won numerous awards over the years, this accolade is the pinnacle of our many achievements. It is true testament to all we have done for the past 138 years, a wonderful tribute to our heritage and our passion.
“Every single member of the Weatherhead’s team – our butchers, our own farm, in fact everyone involved with the business – has contributed to this fantastic achievement. We are over the moon. It really is a dream come true.”
In awarding H Weatherhead & Sons the national title, judges said: “Last year’s Yorkshire champions return bigger and better than ever. Now with Q Guild status – the hallmark of the quality butcher – Weatherhead’s 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.”
The daughter of Andrew and his wife Sally mentioned in despatches is six-year-old Molly, a pupil at St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Pateley Bridge. Andrew said: “She loves to look after the sheep on the farm and helps me in the shop to smoke our own bacon. She already looks set to become the sixth generation Weatherhead to join the family business.”
The awards are in their ninth year and are the Countryside Alliance’s celebration of the rural produce and skills.
Mr Paterson said: “These awards celebrate rural businesses across the UK from post offices to butchers. They are the backbone of rural life and it is vital that we do all we can help create the right conditions to allow these businesses to compete and thrive.”