Shirley Spear joins the judging panel for the 2017 Scottish Rural Awards

The Scottish Rural Awards is delighted to welcome Shirley Spear OBE, chair of the Scottish Food Commission and founder of the Three Chimneys restaurant at Colbost on the Isle of Skye, to the judging panel for 2017.

Photograph by Angus Bremner
Photograph by Angus Bremner

Shirley, who won the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2016 Scottish Rural Awards for her dedication to promoting Scottish produce, joins Richard Bath, Editor of Scottish Field; Jamie Stewart, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance; Charlie Shentall, hospitality consultant and Director of The Lodge at Perth Racecourse, and Sarah Milne of Think Local Scotland, as judges for 2017. Read more about the judges here.

Mrs Spear said she was delighted to have been asked to join the judging team, saying: ‘Scottish food and drink has been a real success story of the past 10 years, exceeding all targets and is set to do so for the future.

‘The industry is particularly important to rural Scotland as it encompasses a large number of small businesses that are based in small communities and use local produce.

‘Awards like these are a way to support those small businesses and help them feel a valued part of Scottish industry.’

Brian Cameron, Sales Director at Scottish Field, said: ‘As a passionate ambassador for all that the Scottish Rural Awards stand for, Shirley is a very welcome addition to the judging panel for the third year of the awards.’

And Jamie Stewart of the Scottish Countryside Alliance added: ‘Land-based businesses contribute over £2billion to the Scottish economy. Despite the multiple challenges they face, they are hugely valuable brand ambassadors for Scotland, and many provide vital support to their local communities. These awards give Scotland a chance to recognise the resilience, innovation and contribution that rurally-based people and businesses make to its success.

‘Shirley was the recipient of the SRA Lifetime Achievement award at last year’s awards and we are delighted that she will boost our judging panel for the 2017 awards.’

Shirley receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Scottish Rural Awards from Mike Wijnberg of Scotland's Rural College (pictured right), and comedian Fred MacAulay
Shirley receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Scottish Rural Awards from Mike Wijnberg of Scotland’s Rural College (pictured right), and comedian Fred MacAulay

Nominations for 2017 are now open – click here for more information and to download a nomination form.

Finalists will be announced at the end of November, with winners revealed at the Scottish Rural Awards gala dinner in March 2017.