SEVERAL businesses in Ryedale have been shortlisted in a prestigious ceremony which celebrate the best of rural life.
More than 3,500 businesses were nominated in The Countryside Alliance Awards with a judging panel narrowing down the entries to produce regional finalists in five categories – Local Food, Village Shop, Butcher, Enterprise and Start-up.
In the Yorkshire region, Hunters of Helmsley and Beadlam Grange Farm Shop are shortlisted in the Local Food category, Hovingham Village Market is nominated in the Butcher category and The Tea Parlour & Post Office, Middleton, is one of four battling to be named best Start-up business.
A win in the regional finals leads to a ceremony in the House of Lords where a national winner will be announced.
News of the nomination has capped off a perfect first year for Dini Frost, owner of the Tea Parlour in Middleton, near Pickering.
The business, which opened on January 19 last year, is a real family affair as her eldest son, Richard, runs the village post office from the same building.
“I think it is marvellous to be in the final,” said Dini, of Hunmanby. “Our customers nominated us for this award so it is nice that we are appreciated.”
“We are an old fashioned Tea Parlour and do things the old way. All the China is vintage, some of it dates back to 1850, the youngest going back to 1960, with the majority from between the 1920s to 1940s. We have even got China cafetiere and even the tables are embroidered table cloths.”
Along with the “1940s feel” of the parlour Dini and her friend Kim Franks source all their food locally, including bread from Sinnington, eggs from Great Edstone and homemade cakes, soups and casseroles.
The result has led to the shop becoming popular with customers from near and far.
Dini added: “We get a lot of local people but also a lot of regulars from York and Tadcaster. Several come from Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside and we are getting some from Whitby way as well as Scarborough, so we are starting to get well known. And we are starting to pick up quite a regular clientele from people who have a caravan during the summer.
“We are really pleased with how it is going.”
A more established business is also making waves to earn its third nomination in three years for The Countryside Alliance Awards.
Hunters of Helmsley, which has been based in the town’s Market Place for the past 20 years, has been shortlisted in the Local Food category.
“We are over the moon to have been shortlisted for the Countryside Alliance Awards for the third year in a row,” said Christine Garnett, who runs the delicatessen with her husband, Chris. “We are keeping our fingers crossed that this is our year and we can go on to be crowned the regional and then national champion.
“Recent years have been tough for all businesses and so we try to do what we can to support both local suppliers and to encourage more people into the town of Helmsley so that all local organisations can benefit. As a town and a county we have so much to be proud of, and we want to make sure people know it.”