A FORMER vegetarian turned popular Chepstow butcher is among two from Monmouthshire to make the finals of the Wales and British Countryside Alliance Awards.

Matthew Trim, of Trim’s Town Gate Butchers on Moor Street in Chepstow, will be up against N S James Limited of Crown Square in Raglan, and two others, to be crowned the overall champion for the Welsh butcher’s category.

Staff from both butchers will be invited to an awards ceremony in Cardiff in May or June this year, when the winner will be chosen.

Free Press Series: Matthew Trim of Trim's Town Gate ButchersMatthew Trim of Trim's Town Gate Butchers

Both butchers are also nominees for the British finals in London in June, having been selected from an initial 18,000 applications nationwide.

Mr Trim expressed delight at claiming a spot in the finals, and explained his unusual route into the profession.

“I worked for a short time as a vegetarian butcher,” he said.

“I was vegetarian as a teenager and I got the job as a butcher when I joined my father-in-law's business when I was 18.

“It wasn’t for ethical reasons, I just didn’t fancy eating meat. Then one holiday I went to America and tried some steak - I was hooked.”

He has achieved a place in the last four despite only starting his business 18 months ago, and it is the first time he applied to be considered for the awards.

“I’ve been in the profession 18 years now, but I only started my own business here 18 months ago,” he said.


Finalists found out that they were in line for the awards earlier this month after customers spent two months voting for their favourite butcher.

“I was a little surprised and really pleased that I was nominated by those I serve,” Mr Trim added.

“I’m really proud to be able to source local produce and supply good quality meat.”

Free Press Series: Neil James (left) and his team at NS James LtdNeil James (left) and his team at NS James Ltd

Neil James, owner of NS James Ltd since taking over from his father in 1989, paid tribute to his “loyal customers” after finding out he was in the last four.

“The fact we’re through to the last four is down to the people that are served by the shop and supporters of the business,” Mr James said, who won the same award in 2010.

“Since the business started in 1959 we’ve always done our best for the people here, so to think they’ve repaid us again in this way is a wonderful feeling.”

A keen supporter of local tradesmen and a flag-bearer for all things Wales, Mr James has also been busy contending with a long refurbishment while developing his line of local homemade produce, including his particularly popular Welsh faggot.

The finalists will soon be receiving a site visit from a representative of the Countryside Alliance before Wales’ best butcher is revealed.