A politician is calling for people to nominate outstanding community businesses for the rural equivalent of the Oscars.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, now in its eighth year, celebrates the best of Britain’s rural business.

And Witham MP Priti Patel believes our part of the county is among the very best in terms of its produce.

There are five categories for this year’s awards, celebrating the best local food, village shops and post offices, enterprise, butchers and start-up businesses.

Ms Patel said: “Our part of Essex has a number of outstanding local and rural businesses that promote our countryside and support jobs.

“We have the finest local produce anywhere in the world and these awards are an excellent opportunity for our local enterprises to receive the national recognition they deserve.

“I hope many local businesses will be nominated.”

Businesses from Essex are yet to taste success at the Countryside Alliance Awards - last year’s regional winners came from Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire.

Members of the public can nominate businesses until October 29. Visit countrysideallianceawards.org.uk