Village Of The Year: Whittington
PUBLISHED: 19:44 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:16 20 February 2013
Whittington's past, present and future made it a runaway winner in the Shropshire Calor Village of the Year competition.
Whittington's past, present and future made it a runaway winner in the Shropshire Calor Village of the Year competition. The submission from those who run the village school, church and its multitude of organisations and societies convinced the judges that Whittington, a runner-up last year should take the honours in 2009.
The competition is run by the Community Council of Shropshire, with sponsorship provided by Calor - the UK's leading supplier of off-mains gas -and Shropshire Life magazine. Whittington admirably demonstrated to the judges that their village was thriving across all areas of rural life including community, business, sustainability and communication.
CCS Trustee Keith Fraser said: "There is an obvious pride; it is clear that members of the community pull together in making Whittington an active, supportive community with a 'cradle to grave' approach to community activities."
Judge and CCS Officer Maxine Betts added: "I was particularly impressed by listening to some of the newer residents describe the reasons behind their initial attraction to the village and the warm welcome they had received by members of the community."
In addition to winning the county prize, Whittington will represent the county in the Calor Village of the Year for England competition 2009/10. This will give the village the opportunity of gaining recognition at national level as well as a share of a prize fund totalling more than 40,000.
This will be the last year of Village of the Year in Shropshire. From 2010 main sponsor, Calor will be refocusing its community funding programme towards addressing issues of rural fuel poverty. CCS Chief Executive Julia Baron said: "Succeeding in the Village of the Year competition is often the catalyst for new community projects and activities to further improve village life and being able to celebrate this is a fitting way to mark the closure of the competition."
Whittington is an old village with a long and magical history but it is a place which hasn't stood still, as members of the community told the competition judges Keith Fraser and Maxine Betts representing the Community Council and Shropshire Life Editor Joanne Goodwin.
From the under 5s playgroup and Sunday School to the senior citizens and community centres via the outstanding primary school, youth group, rugby and cricket clubs and the parish council the village is a place where generations work together and where newcomers are welcomed. At the heart of the village stands the castle: "The only castle in England which is community-run", rescued by people power and now a thriving business and visitor attraction.
Villager Canon Philip Crowe said: "Estate agents describe Whittington as a desirable village and a much sought-after location. We think it is the happiest and most supportive community that we have ever lived in and we value it most highly as I think most people who live here do."
Parish Council chairman Steve Charmley said: "The win is huge for the village and will put us firmly on the map, hopefully bringing in more visitors and helping our businesses. The whole community pulled together for the competition as we do all year round and it paid off."
For coverage of the Village of the Year presentation see the November issue of Shropshire Life.