A CHEESEMAKER from Thirsk has fought off stiff competition to win a top title at a national competition.

A soft blue cheese crafted at the family-run Shepherds Purse dairy in North Yorkshire has been named Best English Cheese at the largest cheese show in the world - the Nantwich International Cheese Awards held in Cheshire.

This year’s show attracted more than 40,000 visitors and Shepherds Purse cheeses were among a record 5,000-plus cheeses of every type judged at the event.

Yorkshire Blue also scooped Gold in the Blue Cheese category and Bronze in the Blue Vein class.

Yorkshire Fettle picked up Silver in the Sheep Milk Cheese class, while Mrs Bells Blue, named after the dairy’s founder Judy Bell, won Silver in the Blue Cheese category.

Caroline Bell, director, Shepherds Purse Cheeses, said: “We are so proud to scoop so many awards which is a kitemark for the continued quality, innovation and consistency of our handcrafted cheeses made in Yorkshire.”