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Lifetime Achievement Award for Somerdale's Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones receives the British Cheese Award for Lifetime AcheivementThe co-founder of Somerdale International, one of the UK’s leading cheese exporters, has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the significant contribution he has made in raising the international profile of British cheese.

Stephen Jones was presented with the prestigious award at the British Cheese Awards dinner held last night (1st June) at the Bath & West Show.

Responding to the honour, Stephen Jones said, "I’m very honoured to have received this Award especially as it recognises the work that I, my business partner Ernie Waldron and all the team at Somerdale International have undertaken over the past 26 years in raising the profile and sales of British cheese across the globe.  As such, I very much accept this award on their behalf.”

Stephen Jones was born in Woolacombe, North Devon and has spent his entire working life in the food and more specifically the dairy sector.  In the late 1970s he worked as a buyer for Sainsbury’s mainly in the yoghurt, butter & margarine categories.  While in the early 1980s he joined Dairyvale based in Reigate which focused on trading in milk powders and dairy products to the Caribbean, Far East, Middle East and speciality cheese to the USA. 

At Dairyvale Stephen met his now long-term business partner Ernie Waldron and in 1990 they together set up Somerdale International.  Today, Somerdale is now in its 26th year of operation and is one of the UK’s leading cheese and dairy products exporters with a turnover of over £32 million.  It provides an effective route to the international market for over 250 great tasting British cheeses made in some of the country’s leading creameries including traditional Cheddars, blue cheeses, flavoured cheeses and traditional hand-made, artisan cheeses. It is the leading exporter of British cheese to the USA with shipments leaving for New York every week.  While it has also grown its  presence in key markets such as China and the Far East, the Caribbean, Australia and emerging markets such as the Middle East & North Africa and Brazil.

In April this year on the day of the Queen’s 90th birthday, Somerdale International was honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.  This was the second time Somerdale International has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade having also received it in 2009.

Pictured: Stephen Jones is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Cheese Awards by Mike Pullin, Director of Barbers & Ford Farm the sponsors of the awards dinner and Charles Campion the restaurant critic.