Grayshott, already three times ‘Hampshire Village of the Year’, has once again entered the annual competition and many villagers representing village groups and businesses turned out on 16th August to meet the judges in the Square.
In the closest competition over the last six years, Bishop’s Sutton eventually came out victorious to join the elite of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Village of the Year past winners, including the close runners-up Grayshott who are perennially there or thereabouts.
Bishop’s Sutton, close to Alresford and within sight of the famous steam ‘Watercress Line’ won the competition through strength in their community links over the four categories judged upon.
All the finalists were very strong and Grayshott, last year’s winners North Waltham, and Isle of Wight village Whippingham are all winners in their own right, each winning one of the categories. Grayshott’s community minded businesses, North Waltham’s strength in their support to young people, and the heritage aspect of Whippingham were all commented on favourably by the judges. Hartley Wintney were also involved in one category and the parish council took the prize for ‘the Small Idea’ for their innovation in financially supporting local employers to release retained fire fighters supporting local emergencies. ‘The Presentation Event will take place at North Waltham Primary School on 18th October, and awards will be made by our generous sponsors at Fuller’s Brewery,’ County Organiser Steven Lugg said.
Steven further added, ‘It has been an absolute pleasure being involved in the judging this year. The quality of finalists made it very difficult; certainly for residents all the finalists are winners!’
Coordinator of Bishop Sutton’s bid for success, Gail Cook said, ‘The whole experience has been great for involving new people in activities rather than just the usual suspects. This means so much to us all!’ Bishop’s Sutton were fortunate enough to be well supported by local man Peter Mills, who allows his pond and meadow to be used for village leisure and recreation, creating ‘the glue’ for the pub, church and village hall as village assets.
Village of the Year Bishop’s Sutton Brass Plaque, £500, certificate
Runner-Up Grayshott Trophy, certificate
Third North Waltham Certificate
Fourth Whippingham Certificate
Business and Community Together Grayshott Certificate
Groups, Clubs and People North Waltham Certificate
Communications Bishop’s Sutton Certificate
Facilities and Environment Whippingham Certificate
The Small Idea Hartley Wintney Certificate, £100