LOCAL 'lockdown heroes' in the food and drink industry which have adapted to meet the challenges of the past year were celebrated in an awards ceremony.

The Bridport Local Food Group has announced the results of the 2021 Food and Drink Lockdown Hero Awards.

The awards had six categories in which residents were encouraged to nominate their favourite local businesses.

The Producers, Wholesalers and Caterers Award was scooped up by outdoor and event caterers, Hungry Mule Catering. The organisation is run out of Dreadnought Trading Estate by Sam Hill - throughout the pandemic Hungry Mule has found new ways to operate including a popular Friday night rib shop.

The New Inn in Stoke Abbott was given the award for Best Public House. The 17th century pub based just out of Beaminster has offered takeaways and deliveries four times a week, organised a flower and produce show and have held regular quizzes. The Half Moon in Melplash was the runner-up.

Cocktail specialists Dark Bear won the award for Best Takeaway and Home Delivery Category. Dark Bear expanded its business during the first lockdown, canning their cocktails and delivering for free to homes in Bridport, Beaminster and Lyme Regis.

The winner of the Restaurant and Café category was the Taj Mahal on East Street. At the start of the pandemic Helen Choudhury, joint proprietor with her husband, Rafique, took on the responsibility for all the cooking allowing her chefs to go home to their families. She also took the time to cook curries and deliver for free to the Food Surplus stall at St Swithun’s Church. Station Kitchen at West Bay finished in second place.

Washingpool Farm Shop in North Allington was given the award for Best Food and Drink Retail. The Holland Family, who run the shop, made rapid alterations to enable covid safe shopping and introduced a click and collect service and home delivery service. Framptons of Bridport was the runner-up in the category.

Lastly, the George Inn in Chideock was given a special award for outstanding service. Jamie Smith and Amy Day who run the pub have done much to support the village since March 2020. They have delivered hot meals and also milk, groceries and newspapers to the vulnerable and elderly in the village.

Kathy Dare, chairwoman of the Bridport Local Food Group, said: “Congratulations to all the winners, the service that you have given to the community during lockdown has been exceptional and made life for many much more bearable. We received an incredible number of nominations and all deserve the highest praise.

"Despite all the uncertainties over the last 12 months, our fantastic food and drink businesses have certainly risen to the challenges and provided us, the local community, with amazing food, drink and service."