VETERAN competitors and newcomers have both celebrated victory in this year’s Staffordshire Best Kept Village Awards.
It was another winning year for Haughton, near Stafford, which claimed the title of best large village in the county for the fourth year running.
But it was just the second year of entering the competition for Acton Trussell, which was named the county’s best kept small village at last night’s ceremony at Stafford College.
Acton Trussell also won South Staffordshire’s district trophy and the district’ best kept small village accolades.
Malcolm Nicholas, 71, from the village’s organising committee, said: “We were overwhelmed, we didn’t expect it. It is only the second year we have been in Best Kept Village and we were so pleased.
“We ran scarecrow and hanging basket competitions as we thought that was an excellent way of getting community involvement. There are 30-odd scarecrows around the village.”
Acton Trussell’s poster display, created by local youngsters, was praised by John Perry, chairman of the Best Kept Village Competition Working Group, as was Haughton’s.
Mr Perry also highlighted Haughton’s play area, village map and churchyard maintenance.
Haughton’s best kept village co-ordinator Derek Warbrick, 74, who is also vice chairman of the parish council, said: “It was a good team effort – there are a lot of individuals and local organisations involved, such as the WI, garden guild and village hall committee and they all pulled together.
“Gill Anslow has done a lot for us with publicity and we have had a lot of sponsorship from local businesses and individuals too.”
Stafford Borough’s best kept small village was Salt, which also went on to win the borough trophy. Mr Perry said Salt’s refurbished village green was “absolutely beautiful.”
Salt’s best kept village co-ordinator Rose Harrison, 58, said: “We have won twice before and we were very pleased to win again.”
In total 57 villages entered this year’s competition, organised by the Community Council of Staffordshire, including 16 in Stafford Borough.
Second place in the borough’s best kept large and small village competitions went to Weston and Hopton respectively, while Great Haywood was third best large village and Stowe by Chartley third best small village.
Stafford Borough’s highly commended villages were Burston, Church Eaton, Colwich and Little Haywood, Fulford, Gnosall, Hilderstone, Oulton and Yarnfield.
In South Staffordshire highly commended villages included Lapley, Penkridge and Wheaton Aston, while Brewood was second in the large village section and Bednall and Bishops Wood were second and third respectively in the small village section.
Abbots Bromley, near Rugeley, was East Staffordshire’s best kept large village. Longdon and Longdon Green, also near Rugeley, took second place in Lichfield and Cannock Chase’s best large village competition and Upper Longdon was highly commended.