SEVEN years after awarding a prestigious prize to cheesemonger Andy Swinscoe, Lady Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, was back meeting him again this time to open The Courtyard Dairy's new base.

Back in 2010 Lady Percy presented Andy who co-owns the business with his wife Kathy, with a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship enabling him to investigate the art of ‘affinage’ - cheese maturing- in France.

Since then Andy and Kathy have gone into business, won Cheesemonger of the Year in the World Cheese awards and umpteen other accolades for their farmhouse cheese made from unpasteurised milk.

This time Lady Percy was at the new business, the revamped Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre on the A65, to mark the opening with a formal "splitting the cheese."

She told the couple she was very happy to see how the original QEST award had helped Andy gain the skills he needed to successfully develop a business.

“This is an exceptional operation where only the best will do and truly showcases British farming and cheesemaking," she said.

Andy said: “Right from the start we have worked towards becoming an epicentre for championing and supporting farmhouse cheese.

"We hope to use the land we now have available sympathetically to expand what we are able to offer and to develop our own cheeses over the next five years.”

They moved to the new base in the summer and have also set up a cheese museum telling the story of farmhouse cheese, a cheese cafe and cheese-making room for demonstrations and courses.