THREE Cardigan businesses have been nominated for the Welsh finals in the 2017 Countryside Alliance Awards – often referred to as 'the Rural Oscars'.

This year, more than 17,000 nominations were received across the five categories and for three of the finalists to come from Cardigan is a huge feather in the cap for the town.

Tom Samways, at Pendre, has been nominated in the butcher category; Crafters Cwtch, also at Pendre, is in the rural enterprise section while the trio of success is completed by Crwst, at Priory Street, in the local food and drink award.

Each business, nominated by their customers, will now be up against three other nominees from across the whole of Wales.

Tom Samways, who took over the business just a year ago, said: “Well what can I say, other than the biggest thank you ever to all my customers who have voted for us in the Countryside Alliance awards.

“We’ve only gone and made it to the final four in the whole of Wales. I am absolutely chuffed with that and unbelievably proud. It makes all the hard work worthwhile and when it is customers who are nominating you, it feels all the better

“And for three Cardigan business to be nominated really puts us on the map. Cardigan is booming! Can this year get any better? I genuinely don’t think it can.”

Anne Barlow, at Crafters Cwtch, said: “Well done to our crafters, friends and all the customers who voted for us. I'm totally blown away that our little shop has been selected and got this far....what a feather in our cap and for Cardigan as a whole.

“Thank you so much everyone for all the good wishes and for nominating us. We are so thrilled to have been selected as a finalist, it’s a great honour. Six years ago when we started out we had 19 crafters, now we have 69 and they are all from the local area.”

Cartin Jones, at Crwst, added: “It is great we have reached the Welsh final of the 2019 Countryside Alliance Awards, We are looking forward to the awards, and are so excited to be in the running for a 'Rural Oscar'!”

The awards are an 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 14th year, it has become the definitive rural business award to win.

A Countryside Alliance spokesman said: “With over 17,000 nominations it has been our most successful year ever, which made shortlisting an impossible task. It took days to read every nomination and whittle them down.

“From these businesses, nine regional champions from the five categories will be invited to Parliament for the national finals and in the presence of MPs and Ministers, just five will be crowned national rural champions.”

Judging will take place between March and May, when the regional winners are revealed, with the national finals at the House of Lords in June.