Allan Blackburn column

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park
Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

This week, I’ve had the privilege of attending a prestigious awards ceremony in London.

I joined Alan Beecroft and Heather Cornthwaite who run the Country Style Meats Farm Shop here at Lancaster Leisure Park.

Together with my wife Gloria, we boarded the train to London for the “Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards”.

We arrived in Holborn at the renowned Rosewood Hotel and I have to say, it was, simply stunning.

The ceremony was in the ballroom which was absolutely magnificent.

Never one to be able to leave my work at work, with my antiques head on, I studied the chandeliers and reckon they’d easily be worth £100,000 a piece, and there was six of them.

We expected the food to be divine, it was after all, an event celebrating the very best meat producers.

However, the main course was beef cheeks, not something I’ve ever tasted before.

Alan remarked it’s an unusual meat and something he’s never served, as it’s not often that a beasts head is presented for butchery.

We all agreed it was more common to have pig’s cheek, but serving food to an audience of 250 butchers, needed to be impressive and a bit different.

It tasted heavenly and we really felt spoilt.

The awards were presented by Bob Chamberlain from Sky Sports who was a good speaker and very entertaining.

Country Style couldn’t enter the category of ‘North of England Farm Shop’ as the criteria stated that the shop has to actually be situated on a farm, so they entered the Butcher’s Plus category which welcomes nominations from farm shops or butchers from all over the UK, that offer the customer something extra from their shopping experiences.

Even with an exceptional deli, hot food counter, green grocery, cheeses and wines, sadly the team at Country Style were just pipped at the post by a shop in Northern Ireland which also offers a café.

However, getting down to the final three and bringing home a ‘finalist’s certificate’ in a National category is no mean feat and gives the team, a well deserved pat on the back for all their hard work.