Essex town wins best kept village award

GREAT DUNMOW has come top of the class in the 2010 Essex Best Kept Village Awards.

Beating off stiff competition from a host of rivals across the county the market town came out on top after qualifying for the class one category (villages with a population under 10,000).

Judges marked the town on a 20-point checklist after visiting earlier in the year, and Dunmow made quite an impression thanks to its tidiness, its sense of community and its well maintained green spaces, playgrounds and town parks.

A statement from town clerk Caroline Fuller described the town council’s joy at receiving such a prestigious award.

“Dunmow has shown that it has a vibrant community spirit with a wide range of activities, events and initiatives taking place throughout the year for people of all ages,” she said.

“Our beautiful open spaces including ponds, woodlands, children’s play areas, recreation grounds and public footpaths are maintained to an extremely high standard.

“This is testament to the council’s groundsmen and contractors who work all year round to keep them safe, tidy and free of litter.

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“The council submitted the entry form, but this prize is for the whole of Great Dunmow. The council is very proud to accept this award on behalf of the town.”

The competition, run by the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE), invites villages and small towns to demonstrate the successes of their communities.

Last year Great Bardfield came out on top and the village of Finchingfield always appears high on the annual list of finalists – it managed second place overall this year.

Dunmow’s ex-mayor Gwynn Davies accepted the award at a presentation last Wednesday (July 7) in his capacity as chairman of the downs and commons committee.

Current mayor Wendy Barron was also on hand. “It is great news”, she said. “It just shows what Dunmow can do. Everyone should be very proud.”

Giving out the prizes was RCCE director Nick Shuttleworth. He paid tribute to the villages and towns that took part: “This competition demonstrates all that is good about rural life in Essex.

“Our judges were enormously impressed by the enterprise, commitment and sheer hard work of the dedicated people who do so much for communities like Dunmow.”

He added: “ Finchingfield also deserves praise for its efforts. It has responded positively to the challenges of tourism and has a major project underway to restore its historic guildhall.”

DOES Dunmow deserve its accolade? Give us your views. E-mail or write to us at 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1EE.