December 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
A north Essex community is celebrating today after being named the best village in the county.
Clavering, in Uttlesford, beat off strong competition from runner-up Great Maplestead and joint-third prize winners Canewdon and Debden to clinch the Essex Village of the Year award for 2014.
Organisers said Clavering, which also won the Best Kept Village award, supports businesses, carries out regular surveys of housing needs and has recently completed a refurbishment of the village hall.
They said the village boasts a wide range of clubs, societies and activities, and also runs Clavering Care, a voluntary scheme which provides transport and help for older people.
The parish council manages a number of environmental and wildlife projects, organisers added.
The competition is organised by the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE), sponsored by Essex & Suffolk Water and Worldbridge Ltd and supported by Essex Life.
Nick Shuttleworth, director of the RCCE, paid tribute to Clavering, which has a population of 1,100.
He said: “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.”
The village was awarded £500 for its triumph.
Meanwhile, Mr Shuttleworth praised runner-up Great Maplestead, near Halstead.
He said: “This was a close contest. 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.”
He added: “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.”
The award ceremony took place last night at the annual general meeting of the RCCE at Writtle College.
The RCCE is a registered charity that works to sustain rural communities throughout Essex, helping them take action on issues such as access to services, affordable housing and the provision of village halls.
It also acts as a voice for rural people on key issues. The RCCE has run the annual competition since 1955.
For more, visit www.essexrcc.org.uk