CELEBRATION TIME FOR ESSEX VILLAGES
Clavering, in Uttlesford District, is celebrating after capturing the top prize in the annual Essex Village of the Year and Best Kept Village Competition for the first time since 1998. The competition is organised by Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE), sponsored by Essex & Suffolk Water and Worldbridge Ltd. and supported by Essex Life.
Clavering beat off strong competition from runner-up Great Maplestead, and joint-third prize winners Canewdon and Debden, to clinch the prestigious Essex Village of the Year award for 2014. The top two villages receive prizes of £500 and £150 respectively. The joint third prize winners share £100 between them. All prizes are provided by sponsors Essex & Suffolk Water.
The awards were presented at the Annual General Meeting of RCCE held at Writtle College on Wednesday 9th July.
Clavering, which also won its Best Kept Village class, is very keen to encourage local businesses, conducts regular surveys of housing needs and has recently completed a refurbishment of the Village Hall. It boasts a wide range of clubs, societies and activities and runs Clavering Care, a voluntary scheme, providing transport and help for older people. The Parish Council manages a number of environmental and wildlife projects.
The competition, organised annually by Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) also includes the popular Best Kept Village in Essex awards, sponsored by Worldbridge Ltd., consultant electrical and mechanical engineers. This year’s 5 individual class winners, who each receive £150, were Galleywood, Kelvedon, Clavering, Stisted and Messing.
RCCE Director, Nick Shuttleworth, paid tribute to Clavering, which has a population of 1,100 inhabitants:
“Our competition is all about rewarding vibrant, enterprising and caring villages, a description that sums up Clavering very well. Our judges met with people of all ages who showed real pride in the community and a vision for its future.”
He went on: “This was a close contest. Runner-up, Great Maplestead which has a population of only 300 deserves great credit as well. The lack of a shop, pub or post office has brought the community together to socialise, fundraise and look after each other”
The other two Village of the Year prize winners were Canewdon and Debden; jointly placed third. Canewdon has a strong sense of community and is working with the RSPB to support the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, which will be the largest nature reserve of its kind in Europe. Debden impressed particularly with its community-run shop which has served the village for over 30 years.
Nick Shuttleworth paid tribute to all this year’s winning villages:
“This competition showcases so much that is good about rural life in Essex today. Our judges were enormously impressed by the enterprise, commitment and sheer hard work of the dedicated volunteers who do so much for our rural communities. It was great to hear new ideas and plans for the future at each of the finalists”
Sarah Pinkerton, Partnerships Manager for Essex & Suffolk Water, sponsors of the Essex Village of the Year awards said: “We are committed to supporting the local community, so it is a privilege to sponsor these awards to recognise the fantastic achievement of the residents of the winning villages.”