Market expert scoops surprise trade award

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A farmers’ market expert, who is the driving force behind Nayland, Sudbury and Lavenham markets, has scooped another award.

It has proved a successful year for Suffolk Market Events founder Justine Paul, who was awarded the accolade of Food and Drink Hero on Monday at this year’s Suffolk Food and Drink Awards.

She said the award, which was the only category without a shortlist, came as a complete surprise.

“I’m really pleased – it was just lovely,” she said.

“I spend quite a lot of time working at home and wondering if it’s making much of a difference out there.

“It was a lovely surprise and just really nice to get that recognition after six years of plugging away at it.”

Justine attended the lunchtime event at Milsoms having been on the judging panel for the category of Independent Food and Drink Retailer, won by The Cake Shop Bakery in Woodbridge.

The award comes after Justine’s role in turning around Nayland farmers’ market, which was on the brink of closure last year.

Now, along with Lavenham and Sudbury, Nayland has become a popular monthly event attracting local traders and shoppers.

Justine said she is currently on the lookout for new local producers.

“It’s always quite nice when space comes up. It’s exciting to get new people on board,” she said.

Lavenham was another market to be saved after it came near to closing in 2008.

In February, it was awarded the title of Best Food Market in Suffolk by BBC Radio Four’s Food and Farming awards.