Rayne celebrates top village award
VILLAGERS are celebrating after Rayne was named the 2006 Calor Essex Village of the Year yesterday. And Great Dunmow was also one of five winners in the Calor Best Kept Village in Essex Competition. Rayne beat off strong competition from Ashdon, and the p
VILLAGERS are celebrating after Rayne was named the 2006 Calor Essex Village of the Year yesterday.
And Great Dunmow was also one of five winners in the Calor Best Kept Village in Essex Competition.
Rayne beat off strong competition from Ashdon, and the parish council's vice chairman Pat Roberts is delighted that the efforts of everyone in the village have paid off.
"It is absolutely wonderful to have won the competition as it is a very prestigious event which every village wants to win," she said.
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"Rayne is a beautiful place to live and everyone who lives here takes a real pride in the village. There is also a great community spirit."
The judges of the annual competition, which is organised by the Rural Community Council of Essex and supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, were particularly impressed with the hard work done by volunteers to improve the children's playground last year.
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"The younger people in the village got up and actually did something positive, rather than just moaning about the poor facilities," Cllr Roberts said.
"They worked exceedingly hard to get a National Lottery grant and organise events such as a race night and a murder mystery night.
"In total, they raised £75,000 and more than 700 people turned up to the opening ceremony which was remarkable."
Parish councillor Harold Giles said he felt the village's Community Information Point and a scheme which allows councillors to be contacted by text message impressed the judges.
"The information point allows villagers to use computers free of charge on Monday and Thursday mornings in the village hall, and the text message system allows younger people to interact with the council," he said.
"Both of these schemes have been great successes and have allowed younger people to feel like they belong in the village and have a voice."
The village will receive a £500 award from Defra and will go forward to represent the county in the national Calor Village of the Year competition later in the summer, where they will have the chance to share in the £39,000 prize fund.
RCCE director Nick Shuttleworth said: "Rayne stands out for the really positive way that it is embracing change.
"The village demonstrates all that is good about rural life in Essex. Our judges were enormously impressed with the evidence of pride, resilience and enterprise."
Mayor of Great Dunmow, Cllr Frank Silver, said: "I am absolutely delighted that Dunmow has won a Best Kept Village award and I look forward to further success in the coming years.