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Category: News from our Area

Northamptonshire Traditional English Country Pub Scoops Top Food and Drink Award

A family-run pub known for its outdoor dining and welcoming atmosphere has won a major award, recognising its excellent service and high-quality menu.

 The Brampton Halt, located in Chapel Brampton, has scooped the Food and Drink prize at the prestigious Northamptonshire Business Awards (NBA).

The glittering ceremony was hosted by comedian Stephen K. Amos and took place on Thursday, November 7, at Northampton’s County Ground.

 The pub, part of the McManus Pub Company, was purchased in 2003. It fast became popular for its outdoor space and beautiful views, which prompted the McManus family to inject more than £1m into restoring and renovating the venue.the brampton halt

It has been run by husband and wife team Tim and Donna Leah for more than 15 years.

 Landlord Tim said: “We’re hugely honoured to have picked up the Food and Drink Award at the NBAs this year. But running a public house is truly a team effort and we would not have been winners without every single person who works here, either front of house or out the back.

“Over the years we’ve really grown the business into a place that caters for all ages. In the day we’re a family-run pub that welcomes kids of all ages. In the evenings we get lots of young people visiting, keen to meet their mates and have a few pints, as well as older people who might seek a quiet corner and a read of the paper.

“We’ve also become a popular venue for weddings and parties after we had our outdoor kitchen fitted. Our newly renovated patio has opened the space up, so we can cater for even more people who wish to visit us over the course of the summer. If you haven’t been to visit us before, then you’re missing out!”

More than 50 people are employed at the Brampton Halt and many of them have been extensively trained to ensure customer service goes above and beyond.

Gary McManus, who has been at the helm of the family business since 1989, added: “The Brampton Halt represents the epitome of traditional English country pubs. We have a passion for excellence, coupled with constant investment. We pride ourselves in serving quality, locally-sourced food and beverages, combined with first-class service.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure in the winter months, the Halt is the go-to public house to visit because of its cosy interior, which we’ve recently renovated. In the summer, we throw open the windows and crank up the BBQ as thousands flock to us, happy to take advantage of the country views, the beautiful lake and the huge outdoor patio space we’ve created.

“This award is hugely deserved for the Brampton Halt team and we will continue to ensure it remains one of the most popular pubs in the county during all seasons.”

The NBAs are an annual awards programme which recognises exceptional businesses and business people across the county. All the winners are determined by an independent judging panel and they are scored against set criteria and marked through a bespoke software-based scoring system. On the night a total of 12 trophies were handed out.

Steeped in history, the Brampton Halt is located on the Brampton Way, the old railway line which ran through Northampton. The building is the former old stationmaster’s house and provides the perfect setting for fabulous BBQs, fireworks and family events.

The McManus Pub Company owns an estate of traditional pubs, country inns, sport bars and gastro pub restaurants in Northampton, Middlesex and Leigh-on-Sea.

New Deputy Managing Director appointed to Oxford Innovation

A leading light in the economic development of the Thames Valley has been confirmed as the Deputy Managing Director of the UK’s foremost innovation centre operator.

oxford innovation

Tim Smith MBE has joined Oxford Innovation in a new key role focussed on the day-to-day running of the company. Previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Tim brings immediate knowledge and experience of the critical part that innovative start-up companies play in economic growth.

 

Between April 2015 and March 2019, he led the implementation of a strategy that created or safe-guarded nearly 4,500 jobs, assisted 1,500 businesses and helped to train and upskill over 3,700 workers.

Tim Smith, Deputy Managing Director of Oxford Innovation

Tim Smith, Deputy Managing Director of Oxford Innovation

Tim will support Oxford Innovation Managing Director, Jo Stevens, who is leading the organisation’s ambitious growth plans, which include the management of more than 40 innovation centres across the UK and Ireland.

 

Jo said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Tim, who has spent many years leading on programmes of economic development for the Thames Valley and beyond.

 

“Our clients are wrestling with many of the issues that have been at the forefront of Tim’s in-tray, notably how to ensure that the presence of great universities translate into local jobs and economic growth as well as how to develop and support the ‘harder-to-help’ towns of a region.

 

“Oxford Innovation’s work is about making places work better, through the delivery of successful and sustainable innovation centres, particularly for small business, entrepreneurs and for the innovation economy; we and our clients will greatly value his experience and leadership.”

 

Established in 1987, Oxford Innovation has grown to become the country’s largest provider of innovation centres; flexible workspace and support for innovative, early stage business.

 

So far this year, three new innovation centres have been launched; two in Oxford and one Essex, with additional centres in Newcastle, High Wycombe and Aylesbury to be launched in the next three months. Future plans include a centre in Haverhill, Suffolk and a first centre in the Republic of Ireland.

 

Tim Smith said: “I have been involved with the SQW Group for several years and have long respected the integrity, professionalism and expertise of Oxford Innovation and its sister companies.

 

“I am delighted to have joined the company and look forward to helping it realise its growth ambitions and supporting even more innovators in the future.”

 

To find out more about any of the services Oxford Innovation provide visit:

oxin-centres.co.uk or call 01865 261480.

 

Grub Club Leicestershire-Northants to launch at Warner’s Distillery

Grub Club Events is launching a new group – Grub Club Northants-Leicestershire. The new group will hold its first event on Tuesday 3 December, at the multi-award-winning Warner’s distillery in Harrington, Northants.

Falls Farm Botanical Garden

Falls Farm Botanical Garden

The new group is an expansion of the existing Grub Club Cambridge – a business networking group for foodies, and movers and shakers in the food industry. Its first Leicestershire-Northants event will include a delicious dinner and the chance to network with others in the food industry.

 

Grub Club was founded by Vhari Russell and Cat New of The Food Marketing Expert. Vhari said: “This is our first event in this area, and we can’t wait to connect more food and drink businesses, as great things happen over great food and drink.”

Cat New and Vhari Russell

Cat New and Vhari Russell

As well as dinner, the event will include a tour of the distillery, allowing visitors to sample some of the innovative gins that have made Warner’s one of the most successful of the country’s many up-and-coming gin distillers. Warner’s was founded on the family farm in 2012, since when it has forged a reputation for creating novel and great-tasting gins as part of its mission of “Saving the world from mediocre gin”.

 

Tickets for the event are available from Eventbrite [LINK: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/distillery-tour-and-networking-tickets-79972829887] or visit grubclubcambridge.co.uk for more information.

Northampton Farm Opens its Field for Spooky Pumpkin Pick Your own Fun

A Northampton farm is opening up its field so visitors can pick their own pumpkins ahead of Halloween.

The Brampton Halt branch of Smiths Farm Shop has decided to go all out for the spooky season and invite families to come along and hand select which orange root vegetable they would like to take home.

Adrian's granddaughter Bunny has been helping out on the pumpkin patch

Adrian’s granddaughter Bunny has been helping out on the pumpkin patch

Smiths Farm shop staff will also be on hand to help each child pick their chosen pumpkin, while also telling them some facts about how they grow and harvest them each year.

Proprietor of the farm shop, Adrian Smith said: “Being a family-run business we wanted to hold an activity which gets children more involved. Every year we grow our own pumpkins

from seed in the greenhouse, and then plant them in the field, it’s such a magnificent plant that can produce such a large pumpkin from such a tiny seed.

Adrian Smith has been hard at work gearing up for Halloween

Adrian Smith has been hard at work gearing up for Halloween

“As well as helping visitors to pick their own pumpkin, we’ll also be on hand with suggestions on how to cook with the vegetable and its seeds. People are very happy to buy pumpkins, but aside from using them for Halloween, they seem to be stuck with what to do with them. So, we’re saying this year to do less carving and more cooking.”

The field will be open from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, October 26 to Sunday, October 27.

The Farm Shop, which also has another branch at Billing, has been growing pumpkins for 30 years. In addition to pumpkins, the farm also grows a large range of squashes, such as butternuts, crown prince and little gems.

Adrian added: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming the people of Northamptonshire onto our farm and carving out some fun. We’re sure the activity will pumpkin spice up Halloween, after all, if you’ve got it, haunt it.”

In a bid to reduce packaging waste, the Smith family are requesting people bring their own bags to collect their pumpkins in.

The family have been in business since 1958. Proud of their heritage, the company supports like-minded local food producers, providing them with an outlet to sell their homegrown products.