Bardwell: One of the best places to live in Suffolk - but is it the village of the year?

THE second finalist for Suffolk Village of the Year is Bardwell. Today, Mariam Ghaemi finds out what makes it so special.

IT is the people who really make a village what it is – and Bardwell is no exception. Only about 600 people live there but the community spirit is tangible.

On a tour of the village, I met those who are really at the core of why Bardwell is a finalist for Suffolk Village of the Year.

Among them were a lady vicar who plays guitar, a mother and son whose windmill has been restored with the help of the community and a charity volunteer who looks out for older residents.

Parish council chairman Peter Sanderson said he believed “it’s the community” which makes the village stand out.

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“The village is a vibrant place and it’s only until you have been here a little while you realise how much does go on and how much has gone on in the last few years,” he said.

The village boasts an abundance of groups, clubs and work which has been undertaken to improve surroundings.

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Kevin Shepard, who painted the new village sign, said people worked together to pick up litter, tidy up the churchyard and restore the windmill.

“It’s what you do in communities: if you have talent you use it for the good of the people you live with.”

Villagers pulled together to help restore Bardwell Windmill – which is a symbol of the village– after the huge storm of 1987 caused the sails to crash to the ground.

Thanks to the effort of a lot of people, the windmill – which had become a visitor attraction – now stands proud with all four sails after he final pair were fitted earlier this year.

The Reverend Liz Jump, who works at Bardwell’s Church of St Peter and St Paul amongst others in the area, said she had got to know whole families through her role, which she described as a “privilege”.

The Rev Jump, who played guitar during the songs of praise event at the Dun Cow at Easter, said: “They are proud of the village and more importantly proud of the relationships within it.”

Bardwell deserves its place among Suffolk’s best places to live.

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