SEVEN of North Yorkshire's best-loved shops have been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Barker Butchers, Nether Poppleton, York; Highside Butchers, Ripon; Ainsty Farm Shop, Green Hammerton; Skelton-on-Ure Post Office; Adventure Toys, Northallerton; Homeworks of Helmsley; and Campbell & Sons, Leyburn, have been selected as some of the best businesses in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The companies are up for the Countryside Alliance's Best Rural Retailer regional awards across four different categories. Highside and Ainsty Farm Shop are in the best local food retailer category, Skelton Post Office is contesting the best village shop/post office, Adventure Toys in the best diversification section, while Barkers, Homeworks and Campbell & Sons are fighting it out for the best traditional business category.

The competition, organised by the Countryside Alliance, seeks to celebrate rural communities through the retailers who work so tirelessly to keep them together and promote local produce, skills and enterprise.

More than 2,500 nominations were received from across the UK and they have been whittled down to 200 regional finalists.

James Bates, spokesman for the Countryside Alliance in North Yorkshire and a member of the judging panel, said: "We have received a very high calibre of nominations which does the region proud.

"Our short-listed retailers are exactly what this competition is about: diversity, warmth, dedication and a passion for community and the countryside.

"I would like to thank everyone who nominated their retailer - there is a massive buzz around this competition because it celebrates people alongside skills and produce."