WILD boar and kangaroo have helped Yorkshire Game pick up the top regional prize in this year's Parcelforce Worldwide Small Business Awards.

The Newton Aycliffe-based business will now go forward to the national finals, to be held in January.

The firm has been trading since 1983 and supplies game meat such as venison and wild boar, along with other exotic meats such as kangaroo and ostrich to top hotels and restaurants, catering industry and retail butchers.

Through its networked sporting estates in the North-East and border areas of Scotland, the company sources and capitalises on the new markets that are opening up.

Sandra Baxter, co-founder of the business with her husband Louis, said: "This award is one of the biggest achievements for our business so far, and it's particularly pleasing for us to be acknowledged in the growing marketplace for game.

"We're hoping this award will also increase awareness of our products in the emerging consumer and domestic market."

In 1998 Yorkshire Game became the first game dealer to obtain the Investor in People Award, and now with the Parcelforce award, it gives a big pat on the back to the company's 23 staff.

As a regional winner, Yorkshire Game receives prize money of £6,000 from the award sponsors. It includes £2,000 from Visa International, £2,000 worth of computer equipment from IBM and £2,000 worth of Viking Direct goods.

Carolyn Holland, Parcelforce Worldwide's small business sector manager, said: "Yorkshire Game Impressed the judges because it invests a lot in its staff, and shows a commitment to delivering quality game to a large range of customers."

lYorkshire Game will receive its award from Patricia Hewitt, Minister for Small Business and E-Commerce, on January 23.