A long-standing butcher shop at the heart of the community has been shortlisted among the best in the South East.

Vicars Game is one of just 24 businesses in the region to be shortlisted for a Countryside Alliance Award, which sees the winner acknowledged in the House of Lords.

The butchers, which operates from Casey Fields Farm in Ashampstead, West of Reading, was first founded in 1874 but last changed hands in 2021. They are famous for their sausages and their whole carcass butchery.

With a loyal customer base, this is the fifth time Vicars Game has been nominated for the award in seven years.

Managing director at Vicars Game, Richard Claire said: "It means a lot that our customers keep nominating us for a really prestigious award.

"It is something we take great pride in. We are very fortunate to have won last year with customers continued support."

The team at Vicars Game aim to continuously improve the shop and the offering that they provide their customers.

This year they have introduced speciality cuts such as Wagyu steaks and they are developing their ready-to-cook offer. Extra seating has also been added to their café.

"The awards give us an incentive to keep doing more," Richard added.

"People come from far and wide - Oxford, Newbury, Reading. Our counter stays vibrant and people know they will get a quality product for a really good price.

"To win for a second year in a row would be fantastic. It would be recognition for my team who work tirelessly all year round."

Countryside Alliance received thousands of nominations from across the country, which were whittled down to a final few.

The winners will be chosen via a public vote which ends of April.

If Vicars Game wins, they will go on to represent the region at the House of Lords in the national champions reception in June of 2024.

The businesses are judged on a range of criteria including their passion and commitment, sense of community, championing local food and the energy and diversity of their business. 

The ‘Rural Oscars’- as they are commonly known - are now in their 17th year. The awards celebrate rural businesses that go the extra mile, support their local economy and are the unsung heroes in every community. 

There are five categories including, ‘best pub’, ‘best village shop/ post office’, ‘best butcher’, ‘best for local food a drink’ and the ‘rural enterprise award’. 

Countryside Alliance Director of Policy Sarah Lee said: “We've received a wealth of nominations from the public this year, showcasing a multitude of exceptional businesses in the South East of England.

"Each business plays a meaningful role in their community, and what sets the Rural Oscars apart is their emphasis on honouring the individuals behind these businesses, rather than just their products or services.

"Given the challenging circumstances faced by many rural businesses around the country, it's essential for all of us to demonstrate support in any way possible. We encourage as many people as possible to get voting today.” 

You can vote in the Countryside Alliance Awards here.