Apprentice Jonty Larkin of Sargents Butchers in Dibden Purlieu receives award from HRH the Princess Royal
AN apprentice butcher from the Waterside has been presented with a national award by Princess Anne.
Jonty Larkin worked at Sargents Butchers in Dibden for three years before taking over the shop in September 2021 alongside his partner, Kiera Smith.
He was handed the Lord Graham Endeavour Award for outstanding progress despite adversity at the Institute of Meat (IoM) and Worshipful Company of Butchers annual prizegiving. The event was held at Butchers Hall in London.
Jonty is well known in the village for his “butchery passion”, said Kiera, and the award was recognition of that.
“Jonty was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was young, but he has not let this stop him from striving to succeed,” she said.
“We want to share his achievement with our local communities.”
The 22-year-old completed his apprenticeship with M.E.A.T Ipswich, and was described by his mentor Stuart Davies, as “talented and determined to succeed in everything he does”.
Stuart added: “He works incredibly hard and excelled in his apprenticeship. He thoroughly deserves this award and I’m sure he will remember this day for years to come.”
Running for almost 30 years, the awards seek to recognise and celebrate individual achievement in the meat industry.
Keith Fisher, chief executive of the IoM and himself a fourth generation master butcher, said: “It’s been a tough couple of years for the food industry in general.
“Butchers especially faced extraordinary pressures as demand soared to unprecedented heights during the lockdowns.
“For apprentices to achieve an award under such circumstances is quite remarkable, and the quality of the nominations we received demonstrates the calibre of the people joining the meat industry now.”
Jonty also received a cheque for £250 and a year’s honorary membership of the Institute of Meat.
The Princess Royal is a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers and Fellow of the Institute of Meat.