With her increased knowledge, she would like eventually to set up her own bakery with her brother, 'a bakery linked to a cafe for students in Sheffield (start with the young..). For me, on the bakery side, this will be the chance to put into practice what I've observed. I intend to build a practical argument against the teachings of the National Bakery School, not because of a personal vendetta, but because we should have much better bread than is generally commercially available... The bakery "scene" is very exciting at the moment, but I want it to be more than a fad. I'd like to spread awareness of the delights (and good sense) of good bread.'
The runner up, Alison Thomson, will receive £1,000, enough to fund her air fare, to travel to Mauritania in West Africa. When she passed through the country on her motorbike ride from London to Timbuktu last year, she was struck by the poverty of this forgotten nation and would like to return to research the potential of the country's fishing industry for creating more wealth.
She explained to judges of the Award, 'Mauritania seems to have been forgotten by the world. The first democratically elected president in the country's history was imprisoned after a coup last year. The capital, Nouakchott, is made up largely of shanties, street upon street of wooden huts, as thousands of people pour into the city away from the desert in the hope of creating some sort of life. I saw dozens of people praying on the street outside their huts - they had no mosque. On our visit to the Plage des Pecheurs (pictured), I was overwhelmed by a teeming mass of humanity, all desperate to eke a life from the sea. I would like to win this award for them - to raise awareness about their plight.' The judges hope that, as chief sub editor of one of the London Sunday Times's magazine sections, Alison will be well placed to achieve this worthwhile objective.
The Geoffrey Roberts Award is an annual international travel bursary open to applicants from any country (it is unusual that in 2009 both winners are British). To find out more about the Award, the pioneer wine importer after whom it is named and how and when to apply, visit www.geoffreyrobertsaward.com