Variety is spice of life for award-winning brothers

Richard and Fraser Manners have been presented with the Diversification Farmer of the Year title at the Farmers Weekly Awards.
Richard and Fraser Manners have been presented with the Diversification Farmer of the Year title at the Farmers Weekly Awards.
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Two enterprising Northumberland farmers have been named the cream of the crop in national awards.

Brothers Richard and Fraser Manners, who run John Manners in Alnwick, claimed the Diversification Farmer of the Year title at the annual Framers Weekly Awards.

The pair were recognised for their mix of thriving and growing diversifications at two farms in the county, as well as continuing to be hands-on with their arable operation.

At Battle Bridge Farm, near Alnwick, the brothers run a combine breaking business, haulage contracting, an HGV workshop and a shot-blasting and spray-painting facility.

While at North Farm, near Embleton, there is an altogether different operation as the brothers have converted derelict buildings into eight holiday cottages.

Several more are in the planning stages, in addition to leisure and laundry facilities, which may eventually be opened up to the wider community.

The award, sponsored by AgriBank, was presented at a celebratory evening at the luxury Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London, earlier this month.

Rural consultant William Waterfield said: “Richard and Fraser Manners have built a truly robust and diverse business.

“Outstanding levels of customer service and staff development has enabled them to develop national and international businesses.”

The ceremony was hosted by comedian, actor, writer and impressionist Hugh Dennis.

Now in their 11th year, the awards recognise and reward farmers for innovation, commitment to the industry and hard work.

They aim to showcase the best examples of farming in the country by highlighting farmers’ stories, as well as to encourage the spread of best practice, inspire others and promote the role that farmers play in society to the wider public.

Winners receive a distinctive round, yellow wall plaque.