SAUSAGES are a firm UK favourite, and you will find some of the best in the country in West Oxfordshire.

Patrick Strainge Butchers, in Bampton, officially boasts the best ‘traditional’ sausages in the South East after it was recognised in the UK Sausage Week 2018 Awards.

The company snaffled up the prize thanks to its Old Traditional range, bringing home the bacon in a hotly-contested category.

Managing partner Oliver Weaver was over the moon at winning the ‘iconic’ award, revealing it was a category that the best butchers in the land wanted to win.

He said: “Most butchers have an Old Traditional sausage they make without fail, so we’re chuffed to be recognised as the best.

“This category is very hard to win."

UK Sausage Week ended on Sunday and the awards, organised by Meat Management magazine, were announced at a celebratory lunch at Plaisterers’ Hall, London, last week.

Ten regional categories recognised excellence for traditional and innovative sausages, while a butchers in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, was named UK Supreme Sausage Champion 2018.

Any butcher across the country can enter and Mr Weaver and his staff attended the glitzy ceremony, receiving their award from the special celebrity host, chef and food businesswoman Sophie Grigson.

The managing partner said: "It was a great day out and a great feeling to win the award.

"There was also a lot of free wine, which was very nice."

Mr Weaver lives in Bampton and took over the running of the business when Patrick Strainge retired six years ago.

Founded in 1973, the independent butchers is the only one in the West Oxfordshire village and specialises in prime meat from local herds.

The company prides itself in cutting down on food miles and its website boasts that the meat travels between five and 10 miles from the farm to the shop.

The company has won several awards for excellence down the years and Mr Weaver has continued in the same vein.

At the UK Sausage Week Awards 2014, he won a 'Banger Award' in the Innovative category for his Blood, Sweat and Tears (breakfast) Sausage.

Mr Weaver said: “Patrick won a number of awards himself so I guess I’m taking over his legacy after he retired.

“Butchers are always coming up with different ideas so to win the innovative award is always a great honour as well."

Years of excellent standards have seen the butchers become a member of the Q Guild, which represents the highest quality butchers and independent meat retailers in the UK.

Entry to the Guild is not easy, with just 118 members from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth, and includes regular monitoring to ensure retailers are keeping to their high standards.

Mr Weaver believes this helps maintain trust between the butchers and its loyal customers.

He said: “We get regular mystery shoppers so it gives customers an understanding that we’ll do our upmost to keep best levels.”