Minutes after the British Cheese Awards at Chipping Campden closed last weekend, its sponsor Waitrose announced that it would be extending its support for UK specialist producers by backing the event again in 2003. Waitrose cheese buyer Graham Cassie said: "British cheese exports rose 6.8% between 2000 and 2001 so it is reaching pastures new. We just need to keep supporting the craftsmenship and dedication behind this success." Over 135 cheesemakers exhibited with over 700 different cheeses on show. The supreme champion prize was won by Tamworth-based Highfields Farm Dairy with Innes Button Natural, a 50g young goats cheese. It also won best fresh cheese. The company had carried off the supreme award at the inaugural event in 1994. Among the other main awards were: Best Cheddar, Dairy Crest Davidstow, with its extra mature; Best territorial (non Cheddar), Wensleydale Dairy Products with a traditional red Leicester; and Best Blue Cheese, Swaledale Cheese Co with Blue Swaledale. {{NEWS }}