The CLA and the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society (RIWAS) have celebrated rural work and life on the Island by announcing the winners of the RIWAS Isle of Wight Rural Awards, sponsored by the CLA.
The awards were due to be presented at the Royal Isle of Wight County Show in the summer, but when the show was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic the categories were relaunched in the autumn.
The winners of the Isle of Wight Rural Awards 2020 are:
- Rural Tourism Business of the Year – Nettlecombe Farm
- Wight Marque Food Business of the Year – Brownrigg’s Farm Shop and Cafe
- Small Countryside Business of the Year (up to five employees) – Four Winds Dairy
- Countryside Business of the Year (six or more employees) – Farmhouse Fayre
- Overall winner from the above four categories, receiving the Isle of Wight Rural Business of the Year award – Nettlecombe Farm
- Lifetime Achievement – Hugh Milner
- Rural Young Person of the Year (aged 26 and under) – Abbie Morris.
The awards honour those who demonstrate success and achievement from all parts of the rural economy, with winners receiving an Island-shaped wooden trophy, rosette and certificate.
The panel of judges was made up of CLA Isle of Wight Senior Adviser Cindy Betley, RIWAS’ Danny Horne and independent Chairman Robert Lovegrove.
Cindy said: "A hearty congratulations to all of our very deserving winners and runners-up. The Island really is a unique and special place, and the people who live and work here are as equally impressive as the natural environment.
“The CLA is pleased that we were still able to run the awards this year despite the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves.
“The quality of nominations received was high, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply.”
David Groves, Chairman of RIWAS, said: “At such a challenging time it is pleasing to be able to celebrate success. Many of our rural businesses have gone that extra mile during the last 12 months and we are proud to be able to recognise their achievements.”
It is our hope that the announcement of the 2021 Rural Award winners will return to its normal place, the Royal Isle of Wight County Show, which will be held next year on 3rd and 4th July.
Above: Nettlecombe was crowned overall winner.
Jose Morris, of overall winner Nettlecombe Farm, said: “We’re delighted to have won this incredibly prestigious award. I take it as recognition of how hard all the members of our team at Nettlecombe Farm work to give our guests a unique experience during their stay with us. Nettlecombe Farm has been in my late husband John’s family for over a century, he set a culture of continuous improvement and re-investment into the land and environment which is now part of our DNA.
“Year-on-year we make changes and improvements to the farm and its facilities as we know that sustainability and growth is not possible by just standing still. We also feel that we owe it to our regular guests not only to keep the farm to a very high standard but to make visible improvements each year and invest heavily in maintenance and improvements.
“So many rural businesses face difficult choices between working the land, conserving our precious environment and making a living. By opening the farm to guests, visitors and educational trips we have, so far, navigated that balance. I hope that we can continue to give people a fully immersive experience of a working farm and the rural way of life for generations to come. I’d particularly like to thank the team at the Isle of Wight Rural Awards for their support and recognition.”
Above: Abbie Morris with her award.
Above: Farmhouse Fayre was crowned winner of Countryside Business of the Year (six or more employees).
Above: Nettlecombe scooped two awards this year.
Rural Tourism Business of the Year – Caffe Isola
Wight Marque Food Business of the Year – Isle of Wight Distillery, and Isle of Wight Meat
Small Countryside Business of the Year (up to five employees) – Duxmore Botanics, and Isle of Wight Ice Cream Company
Countryside Business of the Year (six or more employees) – Brighstone Village Shop, and Medina Foodservice.