2019 Lancashire Best Kept Village Awards

The winners

The winners - Credit: Sara Cuff

Communities across the county are celebrating success in the Lancashire Best Kept Village awards

Higham Parish councillors Dave Forrest and Mike Tetley with artist Ken Roberts

Higham Parish councillors Dave Forrest and Mike Tetley with artist Ken Roberts - Credit: Sara Cuff

Higham was the big winner at the Lancashire Best Kept Village Awards. The pretty Pendle village was named winner of the champion class after a painstaking judging process.

Judges made six visits to the village over three months before making their final decision and Michael Tetley, the chair of Higham Parish Council who collected the award, said: 'I'm delighted. We have worked very hard for this. As a parish council we are always trying to encourage people to get involved and to do their bit, but we find that people are generally keen - it's that kind of village.'

He was presented with a commemorative plaque, a trophy and a specially-commissioned oil painting of the village by Lancashire Life's artist of the year, Ken Roberts.

John Isherwood, the chairman of the organising committee, said: 'There's a lot of community spirit evident across the county. These awards encourage people to take pride in where they live and there is obviously a large number of people who want to make a difference.

Front Cllr Margaret Lishman Deputy Leader of Burnley CC, Anne Kelly Mayor of Burnley, Ann Turner May

Front Cllr Margaret Lishman Deputy Leader of Burnley CC, Anne Kelly Mayor of Burnley, Ann Turner Mayor of Wyre. Back Cllr Ken Hartley Mayor of Pendle, Cllr Jim Rogerson Deputy Mayor of Ribble Valley, Mandy Rogerson Deputy Mayoress of Ribble Valley - Credit: Sara Cuff

'The villages that win these awards are the ones that go the extra mile and do even more - cleaning the street signs and doing the things they don't necessarily need to do.'

Twenty winners' plaques were presented in the ceremony which was held at The Villa in Wrea Green, with prizes going to villages of all sizes for their general upkeep and for specific features such as churchyards, war memorials and village pubs.

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But Mr Isherwood is concerned about a drop in the number of villages entering the Best Kept Village competition.

'Almost 100 villages contacted us this year about taking part in the competition, including some new villages and some who were returning to the competition after a break.

But in the end there were only 55 entries this year. Last year we had 67 entries.

'We know that some villages enter Britain in Bloom instead of the Best Kept Village Competition but my message is that no village should miss out - enter both. We are not in competition, we both have the same aims of encouraging villages to look their best and making the effort for one will help you in the other as well.'

Teams of volunteer Best Kept Village judges visit each village twice in the first round in June and July and then the top four or five are visited again by members of the committee. In the whole village award section, the committee selects the top two and the final decision is made by a specially invited external judge - this year it was Radio Lancashire presenter John Gilmore.

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