Watercress Winner of Millennium Egg

Press Release: 23/06/2014

Simon Eden handing the award to Charles Barter

The prestigious Millennium Egg has this year been awarded to Charles Barter of The Watercress Company. The egg was presented at the Winchester Business Excellence Awards 2014 held on Friday 13 June at Guildhall Winchester.

The Egg is Winchester’s equivalent to the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Oscar for the local economy. It is awarded in celebration of local people and organisations who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the economy of the District.

Cllr Robert Humby, the Council’s Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, commented:

We are delighted this year to be giving the prestigious Millennium Egg to Charles Barter, a Director of The Watercress Company. He has been integral to making the annual Watercress Festival in Alresford the success it is today, and in promoting locally grown watercress as a superfood. This reinforces the importance of our rural economy to Winchester.

Charles Barter has been involved with Hampshire based watercress farms since the 1970s, including the development of equipment to make harvesting and production more efficient. In association with the Universities of Ulster and Southampton he is leading research into the health benefits of eating watercress, and further research is now planned with Universities in Lisbon and Reading. More locally, he is part of the team who bring the Watercress Festival to Alresford each year, this year seeing 15,000 visitors to the market town for the event. This along with other work promoting the crop is putting Alresford on the map as the ‘Watercress Capital of the World’.

Charles was delighted to receive the accolade:

Being awarded this prestigious egg in recognition of my contribution to the local economy is a great honour. I have a strong belief in the work we do, and by promoting watercress with its unique properties we will continue to help enrich the local economy of Alresford, and of Hampshire and Dorset more widely.

The ornate egg was crafted by Jeremy France Jewellers in 2000, who then donated it to Winchester City Council for use as an annual award. Previous award winners have included the late Graham Jamieson of the Wykeham Arms pub, Barbara Bryant who headed up the North Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry for many years, Hampshire Farmers’ Market, Winchester Hat Fair, Winchester Cathedral, Mohamed Bakhaty, Chris Turner of the Winchester Business Improvement District, Jim Sawyer of London and Clancy, Richard Steele of Richard Steele and Partners and last year to Tim Jackson, Principal at Sparsholt College. It is displayed throughout the year with a collection of civic silver outside the Bapsy Conference Chamber at Guildhall Winchester.