ONE of the best loved figures in cricket swapped the sound of leather on willow for the sizzle of sausages in Essex yesterday.
As part of British Sausage Week, legendary umpire and British sporting icon Dickie Bird MBE was visiting Primrose Pork in Great Bromley, near Colchester, to hand out a special award for the tastiest bangers around.
The shop is part of a farm run by Robert Moss, whose top quality sausages have now been named the best in the eastern region by Mr Bird and the panel from the British Sausage Appreciation Society.
Mr Bird, who retired in 1998 after overseeing 66 test matches, said it was a pleasure to have the chance to sample so many varieties of sausage and to celebrate something quintessentially British and he was hit for six by how tasty Mr Moss’ sausages were.
He said: “Like cricket, sausages are very British – there will always be the sausage until the end of time. Everyone enjoys them, with bangers and mash and toad in the hole.
“I like a nice pork sausage from the north. I like doing things like this because I love meeting people and I’m getting to meet a lot this week.”
He said he would be travelling across the country for the rest of the week tasting the best bangers from each region, but was particularly hoping for some great things from the butchers in his home county of Yorkshire.
Mr Moss, who runs the farm and shop with the help of his wife Karen, said he was delighted to be recognised as the man behind the finest sausages in the area.
After only setting up the shop at his farm at the end of last year, he has managed to acquire a strong local customer base and now supplies to several pubs and a nearby restaurant.
He said: “They didn’t say exactly why it was chosen, other that it went to a tasting panel and mine came out on top.
“It’s all to do with taste, more than anything else. Quality counts – we have gone down the quality route.”
He said it was great to meet Mr Bird during yesterday’s presentation of the Landmark Banger award, and was pleased that the sausage was being championed by someone so enthusiastic about British traditions.
He said: “I was surprised by how down-to-earth he was. I had only seen him on the TV but I thanked him for supporting the British sausage industry. There are not many celebrities who support it.”
British Sausage Week, held every year, celebrates the taste, quality and diversity of the sausage with events and awards ceremonies taking place in each region until Friday.