Owners and staff from a Lavenham butchers’ shop are off to lunch in the House of Lords with the hope of winning a national award.
Lavenham Butchers, run by Greg Strolenberg and Gareth Doherty and their wives Jen and Nicola, won the regional award for their shop in the Countryside Alliance Awards.
Now they are up against five other butchers’ shops from all over the country in the final of the awards which celebrate rural produce and excellence.
The overall champion of each category will be announced at a reception and lunch in the Cholmondeley Room in the House of Lords on March 22.
Jen Strolenberg said the team was delighted to win the category of best butcher last year and were excited to be in the final winner’s event.
She said: “We were really pleased to be made regional champion for East Anglia and we are over the moon to be in the final.
“It’s lovely to be invited to London for a day out, and having lunch in the House of Lords is special.”
The families are taking staff member Andrew Gleed, who is their longest-serving butcher, along with them.
One of the judges of this year’s awards commented on the reasons why Lavenham Butchers was chosen as a regional winner, and why it represented the best of Suffolk and rural Britain.
Judge Tom Hunt said: “This was the best butchers I’ve ever been to.
“The range of local produce was something special, as was their welcoming spirit.
“They are the heart and soul of their local community and have done a huge amount to support a number of small local enterprises which are not big enough to have their own premises.
“From its Suffolk sheepskin rugs to its Suffolk blue cheese and delicious apple juice pressed just up the road, Lavenham Butchers truly represents the best of Suffolk.”
The Countryside Alliance Awards are run across England in five regions, and winners are chosen for local food, the best village shop/post office, the best farm enterprise, for tourism and for the best butcher.
The 2016 competition received more than 7,500 nominations in support of valued rural businesses.