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Make sure you are registered in time for this year's Best Kept Village competition

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

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Staffordshire’s Best Kept Village Competition (BKV) is entering its 59th year this year and the organisers consider that it is as relevant now as it was in 1956, when it began.

There were 53 entries in 2013 and the Best Kept Village Competition Working Group, which organises the competition on behalf of the Community Council of Staffordshire, would like to see more entries in 2014.

Villages should register their intention to enter the competition by Monday 24 February, but full entry details are not required until Monday 31 March.

If you would like more details you can contact the Community Council on 01785 242525 or communitycouncil@staffs.org.uk

John Perry, MBE, Chairman of the BKV Working Group said:“Many villages worked really hard last year and achieved very high standards in BKV. There was, therefore, very close competition between a number of villages throughout the areas and I think we’ll see the same in 2014. The 2013 “winners” will be anxious to retain their titles but there will also be other villages that will be determined to overturn last year’s results. There will also be villages that, whilst they might feel they are unlikely to win, will be doing their utmost to achieve the best they can.”

Any village in Staffordshire can enter the competition, the focus of which is on community spirit and involvement.

Over 200 villages have entered BKV since the competition started and a number have now entered 50 times or more.

The BKV Working Group plan to award these villages with a special commendation at the BKV Presentation Evening in early August.

The competition is not about the pretty villages, but those whose residents of all ages, local organisations and volunteer groups have worked together to maintain and improve the appearance of their villages, their amenities and general environment.

The BKV competition will again be based on five “areas”

· Stafford sponsored by Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd

· Staffordshire Moorlands/Newcastle sponsored by Lafarge Tarmac

· East Staffordshire sponsored by the Community Council of Staffordshire

· Lichfield/Cannock Chase sponsored by The Leavesley Group (on behalf of The National Memorial Arboretum)

· South Staffordshire Sponsored by South Staffordshire Council and South Staffordshire Housing Association

Also, countywide sponsorship by Staffordshire County Council.

Allan Ruxton, Plant Manager at Lafarge Tarmac's Cauldon Plant said: "For many years, the Cauldon Plant has been proud to sponsor the annual BKV. It certainly stimulates community involvement and we look forward to assisting with the judging again in July."

Villages will be judged twice, once in May and again in June, by different teams of judges; the Best Large and Small villages in each area will be judged again in early July; and the “Best” villages will then be judged in the County Finals in mid-July.

The results of the competition will be announced in early August.

John Perry said: “We have made no changes to the main BKV competition for 2014. The Children’s Poster Competition for 5-7 and 8-11 year age groups will continue as usual, but we have extended the children’s competitions to include a poetry section and we have widened the opportunity for senior schools to enter the In Remembrance competition, which has developed well in the last 3 years. Full details on all the competitions are available from the Community Council.”

The BKV competition relies on a large group of volunteer judges and a number of these retire each year because of old age, infirmity etc.

Chris Welch, Chief Executive of the Community Council said: “We have recruited a few new judges already, but we could do with more. So if you would like to be involved, and we can promise you a couple of interesting days of judging, with guaranteed sun and blue skies (!) in the beautiful villages throughout Staffordshire, please get in touch with the Community Council (ask for Liz Sanderson on 01785 242525”.

There will be trophies and prize money provided by the sponsors for the best village in each area. Shields will also be awarded to the County Winners, with trees kindly donated by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

If you would like more information on the Best Kept Village Competition, and the complementary children’s competitions or advice and guidance on how to enter, or would like to volunteer to be a judge, please contact the Community Council on 01785 242525 or email communitycouncil@staffs.org.uk

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