THE owner of a farm shop near Alresford is celebrating after winning a Countryside Alliance Award.

West Lea Farm Shop, located off the B3047, managed to beat thousands of other nominees to claim the award for best food and drink in the Southeast at this year’s “Rural Oscars”.

Rachel Peppiatt, the owner of the shop, said she was thrilled to have won the award.

She told the Chronicle: “I am so excited and thrilled.

Hampshire Chronicle: Rachel PeppiattRachel Peppiatt (Image: Rachel Peppiatt)

“I am very proud to have been put forward for the award in the first place, and I am so grateful to all the customers who voted for us.

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She continued: “As the owner of a small business, it is just me, Kasia and Sandra. We were so excited to have been nominated for a Countryside Alliance Award (Rural Oscar) but to now hear that we have won it is really quite overwhelming and we’ll be very proud to go up to the awards ceremony at the House of Lords at the end of June.

“It was a public vote, so a massive thank you must go to our loyal customers who took the time to vote for us and I hope that we play a small but valuable part in our local community.

“I am passionate about supporting local producers and we couldn’t exist without our wonderful collection of small local producers, in fact, 90 per cent of our sales are now from Hampshire, so this award is for them as much as us.

“I still can’t really believe it!”

Hampshire Chronicle: West Lea Farm ShopWest Lea Farm Shop (Image: Rachel Peppiatt)

The Countryside Alliance Awards are the organisation's annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise and heritage through small businesses.

Running for 17 years, the awards receive thousands of nominations, with West Lea Farm Shop being among five other finalists in the Food and Drink Category.

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Sarah Lee, Countryside Alliance director of policy, said: “We are proud to be honouring these exceptional rural businesses in the South East, and the people behind them who are passionate about providing quality goods, services, and employment to rural communities and beyond.

“Running a business in a rural community isn’t easy, and it’s so important to celebrate the valued role these rural enterprises have in their communities. We look forward to seeing them in London at the national champions reception!”

To find out more about the awards, as well as the winners, visit the Countryside Alliance website.