FOSSEWAY Garden Centre is celebrating winning a regional title in the Countryside Alliance awards for the top country retailers of the year.

Owners Tim and Gill Godwin now go forward to a grand final as one of 14 winners across the country.

The couple diversified their family dairy and arable farm, which is just outside Moreton, into a nursery over 10 years ago.

This year, they developed the business further with the addition of a larger shop and Timothy's Tearoom.

Fosseway received a number of nominations from customers, and judges from the Countryside Alliance visited the store earlier this month to check out the diversification developments from farm to garden centre.

"They were most impressed with the degree of contact we have locally and our involvement with local schools, clubs and associations," said Gill.

"The tearoom recently ran an art exhibition in association with Dormer House School in Moreton and the customers loved it!

"As the regional winners for the Wessex area, we'll be going to the House of Lords for the finals in February and we're really looking forward to it. It's a real shout for the Cotswolds!"

Tim and Gill, who have a staff of 30, heard the news just before Christmas.

Gill added: "We were delighted to hear we'd been nominated and short-listed for judging. But to be awarded the regional prize is fantastic.

"The garden centre has come a long way over the years, and this award is true recognition of all the hard work put in by our wonderful team."

Tim said: "The decision to diversify was a necessary one as our future in farming was uncertain. We always knew we had an enviable location between Stow and Moreton, and a site suitable for diversification.

"Our customers have been very loyal over the years."