Gallery: Suffolk village named England's best

A SUFFOLK village with a population of just 280 people has been hailed as the best in England.

Jonathan Barnes

A SUFFOLK village with a population of just 280 people has been hailed as the best in England.

Levington, near Ipswich, was named as Village of the Year yesterday at a special awards ceremony in London.

It triumphed in the East of England section and also won the regional Environment category before being named as the overall winner of the competition, which is sponsored by Calor Gas.

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The picture-postcard village was nominated to compete for the national title when it won the regional round in July and beat off competition from four other regions to scoop the top prize.

Suzy Ambler, from the Suffolk Association of Local Councils, said she was “delighted” to hear the result.

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“This is a very prestigious award which provides recognition of what a wonderful place Suffolk is to live in,” she said.

The contest acknowledges vibrant communities which have made the best of opportunities to improve the quality of life for its residents.

In awarding the top prize to Levington, judges said: “Considering its small size and close vicinity to Felixstowe port it would be understandable if community spirit in Levington wasn't great. However, this is far from the case; in fact the opposite is true.

“Over 40% of the villagers in Levington offer their help, in one form or another, in the running of activities, of which there are many, catering for all members of the community from the youngest to the oldest.

“With a heritage of diverse buildings which need to be protected villagers work hard to support and protect their local environment. The village church and surrounding churchyard have been transformed by good planning, enthusiastic fundraising and hard work.

“Other listed buildings have been saved from inappropriate development and the village hall has been made safe, 'fit for purpose', and accessible for all, including the disabled.

“Efforts are continually being made to save local services and amenities with campaigns to maintain the bus service and for the local post office in (neighbouring parish) Nacton to be saved from closure.”

Levington started on its successful journey by winning the district and county competitions last year, ensuring its place in the regional contest.

Before last night's honour, a statement on the parish council's website said: “We have looked at our village through the eyes of others. We have been 'judged' five times along the way - put our displays up four times - and would do it again if we have to.”

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