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Issue Date:- 13 October 2008

Chippy named top fish and chip shop in Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire

FOSTERS Fish & Chips, in Alderley Edge, has been named the best chippy in the area in the latest stage of the national Fish & Chip Shop of the Year competition.

Owner Gareth Foster was awarded the title after beating off competition from a record number of other shops to go through to the next stage of the competition, which is in its 21st year.

It will now go head to head against Thornton Fisheries of Thornton-Cleveleys to be crowned best in North West England and possibly go on to reach the ultimate goal of being the best in the UK.

To get this far, the shop has already been voted for by its customers. A mystery judge from competition organisers Seafish, the authority on seafood, then undertook an assessment which deemed it to be the pick of the crop in the area. Across the UK, 20 other shops have made it this far.

The next stage of judging will whittle that number down to the best ten shops in the UK. Fosters Fish & Chips will now undergo a rigorous assessment including checks on its product quality, staff training, innovation, customer service, shop décor and cleanliness, staff hygiene and food preparation techniques. Shops also face questions regarding their policies on sourcing seafood from sustainable stocks.

Gareth Foster said:- “Getting to this stage of the competition recognises the hard work we’ve put in over the years. We deliver the best fish and chips time after time it’s great for our customers to know that they are getting the best in the area. We’ll be doing all we can to make sure we make it through to the next round.”

Andy Gray, competition judge at Seafish, said:- “The shops reaching this stage have consistently shown high standards by offering quality fish and chips and great value for money. In the 21 years the competition has been running, standards have risen considerably across the UK. Shops are now offering a much wider range of seafood and modern frying techniques have reduced the amount of fat, making fish and chips a relatively healthy option as a takeaway.”

Fosters Fish & Chips will know if it has made it through to the final ten shops in early November and the national winner will be presented with the overall winner’s crown by TV chef Simon Rimmer at a London ceremony in January 2009.

The runners up in the area were:-

· Foz's Fish Bar, Manchester

· Frydays, Manchester

· Harpers, Southport

· The Grapes Fish & Chip Shop, Wigan

This announcement follows the release of NPD Crest statistics revealing fish and chip shops throughout the UK have seen an increase in customers and sales for the first time in five years. The number of people going to fast-food restaurants rose by 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the previous year.

With nearly 276 million meals sold each year from over 10,500 shops, fish and chips remains the nation’s favourite takeaway. Devotees can also tuck into their fish and chips knowing that they contain 36 per cent less calories than a chicken korma and pilau rice, and 42 per cent less fat than a doner kebab with pita and salad. Recent studies also showed that fish and chips had the lowest salt content of all the takeaways tested.

Sajjad Karim MEP calls for EU to rethink sheep tagging plans

LOCAL MEP, Sajjad Karim, has signed up to a campaign asking the European Union to reconsider electronic tagging of sheep, which would add considerable costs onto local farmers and could result in the degradation of our countryside.

Under current plans, from 2010 all sheep will have to be electronically tagged (EID), as a measure to prevent the spread of disease. However, the costs of these tags will be considerable for farmers, at around £1.50 each, and there is no evidence that they will improve animal health beyond that experienced with the current batch-based reporting system in the UK.

The UK has a third of the entire sheep population of the EU; 33 million animals; and 90,000 sheep producers, so we would be disproportionately affected.

Sajjad Karim MEP, has signed a 'written declaration' in the parliament - similar to an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons - calling for the scheme to be made voluntary, at least until the technology advances sufficiently to bring the price down significantly.

Sajjad Karim MEP stated:- "The tags are expensive and offer no benefits to animal health.

We already have an effective batch-based reporting system which works very well in the UK and we should stick with it.

The current system in the UK works well, and North West farmers will ask why we need to burden them with extra costs.  

There may be a time for electronic tagging of sheep, but the technology is just not ready for it yet.

If the North West was to lose its sheep farmers, we would also lose some of our beautiful landscapes, so this decision affects us all."

UEFA Football Hall of Honour Awards
Photographs by Ian Andrew Fairbrother

LIVERPOOL honoured as Ex-footballers and managers attended the UEFA Hall of Fame in Liverpool, at the Liverpool Arena last week. This was the first time it has been held at the Arena and it attracted many well known faces like Sir Alex Ferguson and Michelle Platini to name just a few.

Football Hall of Honour Awards
Photographs by Ian Andrew Fairbrother

IN town was Julia Baired who is John Lennons sister. Pictured here by Big Pictures photographer Ian, she was at the opening of the new John Lennon exhibition at the Beatles Story in Liverpool's Albert Dock last week. Also in attendance was Heartbeat and Liverpool actor Jack Marsden who bought John Leenons original imagine jacket and donated it to the Beatles Story...

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