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All Scotland final in national award

Scotland is set for a guaranteed win next month after taking every final spot in a prestigious national award.

Every finalist place in the Meat Trades Journal Young Butcher of The Year awards has been awarded to butchers north of the border, the latest in a long string of success for Scotland at the awards.

Gary Raeburn from Huntly, Grant McClusky from Lauder and Stewart McClymont from Dunblane, are all vying for the award, and which is announced in London on Tuesday 17th November.

Gary Raeburn, 23, is no stranger to winning competitions. He has worked in the family business of Forbes Raeburn & Sons since leaving school and first entered the Scottish Meat Skills Competition in 2005, when he was runner up. He then went on to win the title of Scottish Young Butcher of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

Amongst his other achievements is taking part in BBC’s competition to find Britain’s best young butcher and appearing at Harrods as part of its Scotch Beef Promotional showcase.

Grant McClusky, 23, has worked for Shaw’s Fine Foods in Lauder for the last couple of years. He has also been a finalist in the Scottish Meat Skills Competitions in 2007 and 2009. Grant has great ambitions, and in a couple of weeks will be opening his own shop in Selkirk.

Stewart McClymont, 22, works for David Bennett & Son in Dunblane. Stewart has been working in the shop since he started as a Saturday boy when he was 14, and in 2007 won the Meat Training Council’s award for the Scottish Apprentice of the Year. Stewart enjoys developing new products and he is given free rein by his managers to offer the foodies in Dunblane the chance to try new and innovative products.

Laurent Vernet, Head of Marketing and QMS, said: “This is real acknowledgement of the craft, skills and enthusiasm of young butchers in Scotland, and the three had to fight off strong competition from across regions throughout Britain to make it to the final.

“The fact that all three finalists are from Scotland says much about the high standards and dedication of Scottish butchers. Butchery in Scotland is going through a real renaissance, with a group of dedicated and innovative young butchers enhancing the years of tradition, skill and customer service provided by their peers.

“And it’s a service supported by a strong customer base, with about 17% of the value of red meat sales in Scotland going across the butchers’ counters, compared to 12% for the whole of Britain.”

Last year Alan Elliott, a young butcher with his own business based in Dalbeattie, Dumfries, took the national title. In just a few years, all by the age of 25, Alan has built up a thriving and successful business, winning prizes for his haggis and black pudding.

The Butchers Shop of the Year Scottish Regional prize for high street shops is sponsored by The Scotch Butchers Club. The Club, managed by QMS, offers butchers who source Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork top quality marketing material, giving their customers assurances that they source premium meat produced in Scotland.

This year’s finalists are Davidsons Specialist Butchers, Inverurie (last year’s Scottish winner), Simon Howie of Perth (both Scottish and National Winner in 2006) and S. Collins and Son from Muirhead in Glasgow.

For more information about The Scotch Butchers Club, visit www.scotchbutchersclub.org.