Brockweir and Hewelsfield Village Shop has been named Best Local Food Retailer in the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Awards. Brockweir is in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean close to Cheptow.
The event, cited by Jamie Oliver as the “Oscars of the food world”, brings together Britain’s best food and drink producers, farmers, local retailers and food markets, street food cooks and dinner ladies. The Brockweir shop was set up seven years ago by local people after the last existing shop in the village closed. It is staffed by over 40 volunteers, as well as a full-time manager and book-keeper.
The awards ceremony, hosted by presenter Sheila Dillon, was broadcast on Friday November 25 in an extended edition of Radio 4’s The Food Programme. The programme will be repeated on Christmas morning. The BBC describes the Best Local Food Retailer award as celebrating all those local shops that make our lives more delicious, from butchers and farm shops to bakers and delis. The trophy was presented by Valentine Warner, TV cook and author to Alison Macklin, manager of Brockweir Village Shop, who was accompanied on stage by four regular shop volunteers, wearing their blue aprons. Asked by Sheila Dillon what advice she would give to other villagers faced with the closure of their last local shop, Alison replied: “Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Just get on and do it yourselves.”