Who are your 2016 Norfolk food and drink heroes? The Aylsham Show wants nominations

From left: Claire Evans, owner of the Kings Arms Coaching Inn, Swaffham, which was last year's overa

From left: Claire Evans, owner of the Kings Arms Coaching Inn, Swaffham, which was last year's overall Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards championship winner, her partner Graeme Taylor, Simon Evans, 2016 Aylsham Show president, and Jacinth Rogers, chairman of the awards . Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Nominations are open for this year's Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards.

The team behind the Aylsham Show want to hear who you think are the crème de la crème of the county's eateries, food suppliers and producers.

The 10th year of the prestigious awards was launched tonight at The Buckinghamshire Arms, close to the site of the annual agricultural show, on the Blickling Estate, which will be held on bank holiday Monday, August 29.

Last year's winners joined guests including the awards' new main sponsor, Norfolk accountancy firm Lovewell Blake.

Claire Evans, owner of the Kings Arms Coaching Inn, Swaffham, was the 2015 awards championship winner.

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'It's been brilliant,' she said. 'It was really nice to get recognition for our hard work. We opened the week before Christmas in 2014 and were so busy that we didn't necessarily realise people were noticing what we were doing.

'After we won, lots of people came in to congratulate us and to say 'we saw you in the newspaper' and it's been nice to put it on our website too.'

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The inn also won the Best New Food or Drink Venture award jointly, with The Dial House, at Reepham.

Hero awards chairman Jacinth Rogers said Norfolk's reputation for food and drink had grown over the years because the county's producers were of the highest quality.

The awards were an opportunity for those in the business who worked extremely hard, and with a great level of passion, to be rewarded by public recognition.

This year's Aylsham Show president is Simon Evans, 55, a land agent and auctioneer with Irelands Arnolds Keys in Norwich.

Mr Evans, from Little Barningham, has been show chairman for 10 years and involved with the show for more than 30.

'When I first came to Norfolk in 1983 I helped as a young steward,' he said.

The show, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and attracts about 15,000 people, will feature the usual popular mix of livestock, country pursuits, displays, food, crafts, and family-friendly attractions.

Organisers are crossing their fingers that the weather will be kinder this August after the 2014 event was blighted by rain in the afternoon and last year's show was a washout from 6am-6pm.

Normally the show association is able to give out about £50,000 a year to good causes but made a loss last year because visitor numbers were badly hit by the downpour.

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