Mercury awards: Traditional Hemsby butcher is Business of the Year

Jeffrey Allen of Allen's Butchers

Jeffrey Allen of Allen's Butchers in Hemsby which has been voted Business of the Year. - Credit: Liz Coates

The winner of the Mercury Awards business of the year category has gone the extra mile adapting to conditions during the pandemic and taking to his push bike to deliver to villagers.

Jeffrey Allen of Allen's Butchers in Hemsby works with his daughters Jemma and Aimee - the fifth generation serving customers from the same shop in Pit Road.

He beat off stiff competition from rivals in the category - Emma Bailey of The Gossip hair salon and Mark Smith of Just Designed - to clinch victory.

Jeffrey Allen of Allen's Butchers

Jeffrey Allen of Allen's Butchers in Hemsby which has been voted Business of the Year. - Credit: Liz Coates

The 64-year-old said he was "chuffed" to win, his daughters saying the announcement had put "a spring in his step."

Heaping praise on the business one nominee said:  "This family butchers has been serving the community for over 100 years and is loved by not only Hemsby, but surrounding villages.

"Not only is his produce high quality and sustainable but he also makes so many different small affordable ready made dishes for easy quick dishes.

"His sausage rolls are to die for and people travel from afar to purchase them.

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"Most importantly during the pandemic lockdown Mr Allen kept the villagers who were were unable to leave the house fully stocked with their essential foods. He did daily deliveries on his push bike - a kind community spirited gesture and once again a sustainable delivery method.

"We are proud to call him our heroic family butcher."

Mr Allen said he had customers from all over the country. During the summer he was busy with holidaymakers, many of whom did not have a butcher at home and loved the traditional shop where everything is home  made.

He said every piece of meat was traceable to local farms.

He makes up  to three overnight trips a week to London's Smithfield market where he buys quality local produce.

During the pandemic he was actually able to lower his prices.

He counts people from all over the country as regulars with customers from London making a special trip for their Christmas turkey and some chalet owners seeking him out two or three times during the winter.

They were "flat out" during the festive season but summer was always busy too, he said.

He thanked everyone who had voted for him, adding: "The other two businesses no doubt deserved it too."

The Mercury awards were launched this year to recognise all that is great in our borough

The Mercury awards were launched this year to recognise all that is great in our borough - Credit: Archant