AN award-winning gin - created by a Blackburn distiller - now has the chance to become a world-beater.

Judges at the World Gins Awards have declared the Cask Aged Cuckoo Sunshine Gin as the best such tipple in the matured category.

And now Mark Long, who grew up in Feniscowles and attended St Wilfrid's High, has the opportunity to complete against the globe's spirit-meisters.

Mark had decided to change up his popular Cuckoo spirit by maturing three of his signature blends - Signature, Spiced and Sunshine - for 60 days in old bourbon barrels.

Before the limited edition found favour with the cognoscenti, Sunshine was already their best seller. Their fourth gin is Solace, a herbaceous offering.

And now the matured version, said to have a smooth, delicate, slightly sweet and fruity taste, has earned recognition.

Mark, who also runs their bar, The Cuckoo's Nest, at the farm, said: "Diversification has always been at the heart of what we do."

The gins are all produced, from the distillation to the ageing, resting, labelling and bottling, at The Brindle Distillery at Holmes Farm.

The same distillery was also behind the Cathedra Gin, which was developed for Blackburn Cathedral, securing an investment of £12,000 from the Dean, the Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones, towards redevelopment work there.

Mark has also teamed up with a host of smaller-scale food producers to host regular Japanese, Malaysian, gourmet and pizza nights.