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Refills can be purchased at Downton Brewery, Dark Revolution Brewery (Old Sarum Airfield), Healthy Living (Devizes) & Regent Tailoring in Salisbury.

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The Last Wiltshire Life Awards

The Last Wiltshire Life Awards

Last Friday was a bittersweet evening tinged with joy and sadness. The evening was Wiltshire’s answer to the Oscars, just more countrified with a little less paparazzi. It was the Wiltshire Life Awards 2024 ‘celebrating excellence across the county,’ hosted by Sue Davies of BBC Radio Wiltshire.

The awards I believe play a pivotal role in recognising and celebrating the contributions and achievements of individuals, businesses, organisations, and initiatives within our glorious county of Wiltshire. They have pulled our community together over the last 18 years. We forget that communities often share common cultural values, traditions, and heritage that contribute to a sense of identity and belonging. By celebrating we preserve local history, passing down traditions from one generation to the next, in turn fostering a sense of pride and connection amongst our community members.

Since Covid struck, the business world has been a harder place to thrive, and the awards also provided a morale boost giving recognition to individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions or achieved notable accomplishments within our communities. Being publicly acknowledged for their efforts can inspire recipients to continue their work and serve as a source of motivation for others, but more importantly building that pride within the community, strengthening the collective identity.

Our joy was that we have been recognised this year as ‘Best Independent Food / Drink Producer’ within Wiltshire, no mean feat considering some of the big brands and exceptional producers found across the county. We have focused on partnerships with others, strengthening each other’s hands and making use of each other’s skillsets. I would like to think the judging panel were looking at how we have evolved and believing in our brand values, recognising this work. Partners like Downton Brewery, Regent Tailoring (the Hackett of Salisbury), Healthy Living (Devizes) have made it possible for locals to refill their empty bottles. Habitat Aid who help us source our Juniper for the Downs and David Waters of the Great Bustard Group with our conservation project.

Our sadness is that these were the last awards unless a new home is found for them. Wiltshire Life as a magazine has published its final publication, as readership has declined, a change in the times. This closure brings the curtain down on the awards and without them there is no celebration to honour the next group of individuals and organisations working tirelessly behind the scenes. Yes, we can network and collaborate in our day-to-day activities, but this event made it special.

Thank you to Mark Allen and his team for celebrating our beautiful county and show casing each year what made it special. I hope a new home can be found for the awards, so next year we can cheer the new set of nominees, as we were cheered and congratulated ourselves.

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