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Hodgsons from Lancaster scooped the title of the nation's top chippy at the final of the National Fish & Chip Shop of the Year Competition in London.

Nigel and Linda Hodgson, owners of Hodgsons Chippy, were presented with the award by Brian Turner, celebrity chef and restaurateur at an awards ceremony hosted by the competition organisers the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish).

Hodgsons Chippy in Prospect Street, Lancaster battered off stiff competition from nine other finalists across the UK to win the coveted title. Like previous champions they can now expect overnight fame as their shop becomes a haven for fish and chip lovers.

Following a rigorous nine month judging process Nigel and Linda presented to a panel of 16 industry judges. After hours of deliberation the judges decided on the winner putting it down to their highly motivated and productive team as well as their family values. Their product and customer service was second to none and the judges were also impressed with employee Paul Eden who holds the coveted Young Fish Frier of the Year title.

Nigel and Linda are over the moon about becoming the best in the UK. At the awards lunch at the Guoman Tower Hotel, Nigel said: "This is more than I could have dreamed of. When we entered the competition we never thought we would get this far. We want to say a massive thank you to all our staff and customers who have supported us and helped us get this fantastic award."

Coming a close second was Andy's from Swadlincote in the Midlands and taking third place was McDermott's Fish and Chips from Croydon in Surrey.

Brian Turner said: "Fish and chips is a British icon and it's fantastic to see such a high calibre of shops in this year's competition. The new research also shows that when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet fish and chips prove to be one of the healthiest choices for a take-away.

"Whenever I am due to visit home I think of fish and chips for nearly a week beforehand and drool. For me the crispness of the batter, the bite of the flesh and the golden crisp chips make fish and chips a dish to rival any other."

Now in its eighteenth year the National Fish & Chip Shop of the Year Competition is run by the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) and rewards excellence in the fish and chip world.

The competition is sponsored by the Frozen at Sea Fillets Association (FASFA) and Seafood Scotland.

No 1 takeaway

Fish and chips is the nation's favourite take-away with 250 million meals sold every year, more than double the amount of Indian curries. Andy Gray, project manager for the competition said: "Fish and chips are loved by everyone and it's great to give the shops the recognition they deserve. Every year the quality of the shops gets better and Hodgsons Chippy is setting a great example. Nigel and Linda will be fantastic ambassadors for the industry."

New research released from Seafish and the National Federation of Fish Friers reveals fish and chips is not only the most popular, but one of the healthier take-aways around, containing a third less calories and over 40 per cent less fat than dishes like donor kebabs and chicken korma.

Date : 09-04-2005