Farm shop in line for major award

A FARM shop has made the final cut after being shortlisted in a prestigious competition.

The Dropswell Farm Shop has been named a North East finalist in the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The business, which is a butchers and also sells its own pastries to the Hartlepool and County Durham area, is one of 12 regional companies vying for one of four regional titles and the chance of UK-wide acclaim.

The awards, now in their fifth year, celebrate the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick.

Each finalist has received numerous nominations from adoring customers and supporters and the Trimdon Village-based shop has been entered into the Local Food category.

Shop manager Paul Craddock, 41, said: "We sell our own meat and pork and lamb from local farms and our own vegetables. Our produce is all locally-sourced and our main custom is Hartlepool and up and down the A19."

Paul, who is originally from Trimdon Village, but now lives in Coxhoe, added: "We just try our best. Customer service is something we try very hard with, as well as the quality of our produce.

"We are over the moon at being nominated. We all work very hard and try and keep the job right."

The shop has been open for seven years at the three-generation 220-acre farm and other staff are farmer Billy Clifford's daughter Jill Christian, her husband Trevor Christian and Ronnie Carr. It became a business three years ago.

And the shop's good news continues as it is expanding by opening a tea room shortly.

The regional winners will be announced before Christmas.

They will go forward to the national final and winners will be announced at the Houses of Parliament on February 3 next year.