THREE businesses from the Tivyside area have been successful at the Welsh finals in the 2017 Countryside Alliance Awards – often referred to as 'the Rural Oscars' – with St Dogmaels local producers' market named the best in Wales.

Organisers and stallholders at the village market had every right to celebrate as they beat off stiff competition to scoop the award in the local food and drink category at a special reception for all the finalists at the Welsh Assembly in Cardigan.

To add to the celebrations, Crymych’s Ken Davies took the runner-up prize in the butchers’ category, while Siop Y Pentre at Cilgerran was highly commended in the village shop/post office category.

The prestigious awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage carried out at small hard-working businesses which go the extra mile for their communities.

Now in its 13th year, it has become the definitive rural business award to win.

This year, more than 11,000 nominations were received across the five categories and for all three local entries to come away with an award is a tremendous achievement.

St Dogmaels market is making a habit of collecting top awards.

It is held every Tuesday in the village and continues to go from strength to strength. Now in its ninth year, it was named in 2016 by BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards as the best market in Britain.

Market spokesman Nia Siggins said: “We are delighted to have won and I think it is an endorsement of the quality of the produce we have here. We have such varied produce as well, all from the local area, and I think the judges saw that.

“I think people now want to know the provenance of what they are buying and want to support local businesses and the local economy. It is important to try to offer something a bit different and make shopping a social experience with a unique selling point.”

The market will now go on as the Welsh regional champion to the grand final at the Houses of Parliament in London on April 25 where it will be up against all the other regional winners for the coveted prize of British champion.

Butcher Ken Davies was equally delighted to take the runner-up spot in his category.

“Just to have been nominated by our customers and then to get to the final itself is simply brilliant and we cannot thank them enough,” said Ken, a fourth generation butcher who employs four people at the shop at London House.

“It was a great night and I am very, very proud of what we have achieved. Everything we sell is as local as possible, from local farms and it is all about traceability. If everyone looks after their own little area, then we will be fine.

“And to also see the success enjoyed by the other local businesses from such a small area is amazing.”

Siop Y Pentre at Cilgerran lies very much at the heart of the village and was nominated in the village shop/post office category.

Owner Nia Morris said: “We are very keen to support as many local firms as we can and offer local Welsh produce such as bread and cheeses.

“We are grateful that we are so well supported by the village and it was their nominations that got us to the finals. We cannot thank our customers enough.”

Countryside Alliance awards director Sarah Lee said: “This has been a record year for nominations, showing how much the public values and supports our hard-working rural businessmen and women.

"The Rural Oscars were set up to champion those who go the extra mile for their communities and it is an honour to offer a voice to rural business in this way.”