Valerie Boothman of farmhouse cheesemaker Barber’s has been awarded the Bath & West Cheese Industry Award by the British Cheese Board in recognition of her contribution to the UK cheese industry.

The BCB said it had chosen to give the award to Boothman – who joined Barber’s in 1972 and was appointed to its board in 2003 for her sales expertise, honed over more than 30 years in the industry, and her ability to create longstanding relationships with retailers.

“Valerie’s contribution to the cheese industry has been considerable and this award recognises her impressive career,” said BCB secretary Nigel White.

“Her contribution to the commercial world is demonstrated by her intimate knowledge of sales and trading, which really helped a small cheesemaking business grow.”

Boothman said she was pleased to have been able to make her mark on the industry, “especially with regard to West Country farmhouse cheesemakers. I’m very lucky to be working in an industry which has allowed me to progress and help shape a cheesemaking business over the years,” she added.

The National Cheese Awards at the Royal Bath & West show recognises cheesemaking excellence in 67 categories.

Winners of key categories this year included: Parkham Farms, which won 13 awards in the Cheddar classes, including the J Sainsbury’s Trophy for Excellence in Cheesemaking; Dewley Cheesemakers, which secured eight medals in the territorials and Lancashire cheese categories as well as two trophies; and Long Clawson, winner of gold awards in the speciality cheese and European category and whose new Claxstone Smooth Blue was named Supreme Champion.

Tesco was named champion retailer.

See above right for a PDF featuring all this year’s winners.