A LEADING butcher is in the running for a big award after reaching the final of a national competition.

Tom Wood, owner of the artisan stall bearing his name in Blackburn Market, is the only representative from England in the new butchery section of Meat Trades Journal's Butcher's Shop of the Year contest.

He will travel to London for the awards ceremony on November 6 full of hope of landing an accolade very quickly after starting out in business.

Mr Wood, 38, set up in Blackburn only this spring, taking over the stall occupied for decades by Pickup Butchers. He was formerly butchery manager at Huntley’s Country Stores at Samlesbury.

A four-strong team now operates at the Blackburn stall.

Mr Wood said: "It would be nice to win it. To be recognised so soon, it's an honour already." With the shortlist already whittled down to three, Mr Wood knows he is up against two Scotland-based butchers for the award.

Mr Wood added: "It's about pride in doing the job right. We are not cutting corners.

"Now I'm self-employed, any accolade that we collect will be much more personal."

Mr Wood has a big date in his diary next March, when he will captain the British entry in the next staging of the growing global butchery competition.

He missed out by only a point in the 2015 and 2016 events.

He said: “Britain has never won it. That’s why I don’t give up.”

Mr Wood, who is a farmer's son and lives in Longridge, decided to invest in Blackburn after seeing positive changes in the town when he made his first visit after a long absence.

He said that he noticed a "massive improvement", with the town seeming much better after substantial investment.