THE eighth annual Countryside Alliance Awards – dubbed the Rural Oscars – have opened for entries.
The awards, which celebrate rural life, produce, heritage and character, are led by public nomination across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Members of the public are invited to vote online until 29 October, said the alliance.
"If you have been impressed by a rural business recently then please tell us about them.
"It is our great privilege to praise the countryside's unsung heroes, and the Awards have quickly become the definitive rural award to win."
The awards run across five categories:
• Local Food
• Village Shop / Post Office
• Start-Up Award
The Start-Up award is new for 2012. It seeks to recognise new rural businesses that have been trading for less than 18 months and are already making their mark.
Awards will be judged at local level first this winter, with each of ten regions declaring a winner in each category by the early New Year.
Local judging is carried out by Countryside Alliance directors across the home nations. Regional winners will then go forward to a grand final.
An experienced judging panel, including celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright, will select the overall UK & Ireland Champions in each category.
For details, visit Countryside Alliance Awards website.
Paper nomination forms can be obtained by calling 0207 840 9340 or emailing email@example.com with your name and address.
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