AN Exmoor blacksmiths has been shortlisted for a prestigious ‘Rural Oscars’ award in an annual celebration of the contribution of small hard-working businesses to British food and farming, enterprise, and heritage.
West Country Blacksmiths, in Allerford, is owned by brothers Kieren and Kyle Roberts and is a regional finalist in the South West Rural Enterprise category of the Countryside Alliance Awards.
The awards, which received than 17,000 nominations this year, are now in their 16th year and have become the definitive rural business award to win.
They are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers an opportunity to tell the alliance why their favourite businesses were worthy of national acclaim.
West Country Blacksmiths is a bespoke metalwork specialist which works locally and nationally on a wide variety of projects.
Its current project list includes gates and handrails for the Crystal Palace Subway redevelopment, in London, historic cast iron balustrade and guttering restoration in the Palace Theatre, Swansea, and three pairs of gates for a private property in Australia.
Countryside Alliance awards director Sarah Lee said: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year.
“The secret to the ‘Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services.
“They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but do not seek the spotlight.
“These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside.
“Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”
Kieren Roberts said: “Thank you to the people who nominated us for this award, we are very privileged to work within a fantastic community who support us in any way they can.
“Being shortlisted for this award means a lot to us and helps us share what we do with the wider community.
“We would like to thank all our customers for choosing us for their metalworking requirements and our extremely hardworking and committed team.”
Award winners will be chosen via a public vote in February and announced in the spring.
The winners of each region will be up against fellow winners from around the UK, with the national champions announced in a House of Lords reception in June.