Kesgrave, Stradbroke, Shotley and Mendham scoop top prizes in Most Active Community Awards 2017

From left to right: Shona Bendix, Chief Executive of Suffolk Association of Local Councils, with mos

From left to right: Shona Bendix, Chief Executive of Suffolk Association of Local Councils, with most active community award winners from Kesgrave, Mendham, Stradbroke and Shotley and Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for health. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD - Credit: Archant

Four Suffolk communities have splashed, sprinted and line danced their way to success – scooping the honours in a contest launched to celebrate those going the extra mile.

Mendham, Shotley, Stradbroke and Kesgrave took home top prizes at this year’s Most Active Community Awards.

Now in their fourth year, the awards are organised by Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Association of Local Councils.

Winners were rewarded for thinking outside the box – with activities ranging from kettle bell sessions to line dancing.

Cabinet member for health Tony Goldson said: “Communities are a vital provider of physical activity opportunities in Suffolk, yet they often don’t get the credit they deserve. It is important because an active community is a healthy community. Sport and physical activity is essential for good health and helps prevent or manage over 20 different conditions and diseases.

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“More than that it brings people and communities together, creates and strengthens social networks, increases local pride and, importantly, reduces isolation.”

Kesgrave picked up the Most Active Town award – partly for its extremely popular parkrun, which draws in more than 200 runners per week.

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Judges also praised the town’s junior parkrun, which has around 125 runners a week, its busy and vibrant sports centre, annual fun run and its new fitness circuit.

Mendham and Withersdale Street, which has a population of just 450, triumphed for the second year running in the small village category.

Tai chi, judo and kettle bell sessions, plus three sessions a week of line dancing were part of the village’s jam-packed sports schedule.

Judges found it impossible to choose an overall winner between Shotley and Stradbroke in the large village category – so both scooped first prize.

Lynsey Smith from Stradbroke Parish Council said: “Stradbroke strives to be an active village that continues to expand its sporting events and participation year on year. The whole village is proud to achieve the most active village award 2017.”

Derek Davis, of Babergh District Council added: “We are very fortunate in Shotley to have so many people who instead of sitting there thinking ‘that looks a good idea’, they actually get up and join in.”

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