What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Diversity is the way to success for Country Barn

A NORTHUMBERLAND business has won a regional award for diversifying.

country barn, hugh annett, sarah oakey

A NORTHUMBERLAND business has won a regional award for diversifying.

The Country Barn, a farm shop, coffee and gift shop at Widdrington, near Morpeth, has won the Countryside Alliance Award best diversification prize for the North East and now goes on to compete at national level.

This is the second year in a row the business has won such an award. Last year’s was in the category of best North East rural retailer.

Businesses are put forward for the awards by members of the public.

A shortlist of three is drawn up and judges visit each premises and pick a winner. The Country Barn has beaten off competition from a brewery and physiotherapists. The company, which has a local workforce of 35, was set up by husband and wife team Hugh Annett, 47, and Sarah Oakey, 37.

The farm shop opened in August 2006 and the coffee and gift shop followed in April 2007, all in converted disused buildings on the couple’s 1,000-acre Widdrington Farm. The farm, has been run by generations of Annetts since 1515, with the family one of the longest established in the county.

It provides all the beef and lamb for the farm shop.

The couple will travel to the House of Lords in London for the national final on March 18.

Sarah said: "At the end of the day, the fact we have even won the North East region is such a feather in our cap for such a young business."

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer