Norfolk and Suffolk firms among the regional winners at Amazon Rural Business Awards

Paddleboarding at sunset. Picture Norfolk Outdoor Adventures

Paddleboarding at sunset. Picture Norfolk Outdoor Adventures - Credit: Archant

Countryside firms across Norfolk and Suffolk will be representing the region at a national competition final after winning the regional heats of the Amazon Rural Business Awards.

Creative Arts East runs arts and culture events across rural East Anglia. Picture: ANITA STAFF

Creative Arts East runs arts and culture events across rural East Anglia. Picture: ANITA STAFF - Credit: ANITA STAFF

Organisers said they were 'blown away' by the diversity of entries within the 13 award categories, whose regional winners were announced at a ceremony at Trinity Park in Ipswich, will contest the national final in February.

The Norfolk winners were Creative Arts East of Wymondham, which won Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year, and Norfolk Outdoor Adventures, of Great Yarmouth, which won Best Rural Tourism Business.

Suffolk winners included Fen Farm Dairy of Bungay, which won Best Rural Manufacturing Business, Explore 4x4, of Pentlow, which won Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business, Appetite Me, of Bury St Edmunds, which won Best Rural Professional Services Business and The Artisan Smokehouse, of Ipswich, which won Best Rural Food Business.

Natalie Jode is executive director of Creative Arts East, which is an arts and community development charity focusing on engaging rural and culturally under-served communities across the region by facilitating more than 600 community-led arts events every year.

Jonathan Crickmore at Fen Farm Dairy.

Jonathan Crickmore at Fen Farm Dairy. - Credit: Fen Farm Dairy

She said she was 'absolutely delighted' with the award win, adding: 'Our main priority is to serve and support rural communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and the wider Eastern region, which are very often under-served or overlooked in terms of high-quality accessible arts and cultural activity and participation.

'We are proud of the work we do, and are so pleased that the Rural Business Awards have recognised its importance.'

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Norfolk Outdoor Adventures specialises in offering guided tours and instruction in kayaking, stand up paddling, mountain biking, trail running and Nordic pole running – enabling people to enjoy the beauty of the Broads while gaining the physical and mental benefits of the great outdoors.

Director Martin Rendle said: 'Norfolk Outdoor Adventures believes that showing people the Norfolk Broads by means of guided tours and experiences out on the water, they can not only experience the joys of our very special environment first hand, but also enhance their skill sets and open their eyes to the wonders of the outdoors.

'I am proud to run a business which enables tourists to experience the Norfolk Broads in a unique way, and am thrilled to win the Best Rural Tourism Business.'

Fen Farm Dairy at Bungay impressed the judges with its raw milk brie-style cheese and raw cultured butter, but also with its 'clear future strategy to develop their third generation farming business'.

'We were particularly impressed by Fen Farm's clear set of environmental credentials and its action plan to minimise its environmental impact,' said the judges.