Alton Pancras triumphs at Dorset Village Awards

Best Hamlet Winner sponsored by Dorset Magazine

Best Hamlet Winner sponsored by Dorset Magazine - Credit: Archant

Jubilant winners from across the county gathered at Puddletown Village Hall for this year’s Dorset Best Kept Village awards. Now in its 27th year the competition, which is organised by Dorset Community Action and sponsored by Magna, Dorset’s largest Housing Association, attracted a record number of entries.

Judges said that they were impressed by the number of recreational facilities they found when visiting the various vilages and hamlets - from adult exercise equipment to playing fields and cricket pavilions – proving that the Olympic Legacy is very much alive in Dorset’s rural communities. Other interesting local initiatives included a former telephone box used as a library. In fact a community library set up by hosts Puddletown was runner-up in the People’s Award which celebrates community projects. The Puddletown Community Library, which was opened by Kate Adie in January, has become a real social hub for all the community – both young and old.

The winner of the People’s Award was Broadwindsor Community Shop. Situated in a former telephone exchange it was established by the dogged determination of locals who wanted to keep their village shop. Thanks to tremendous local support, a grant from Chalk and Cheese and its 217 share holders the shop opened without any debt, and in its first six months of trading had a turn over of £100,000. It currently carries over 1800 lines and uses 26 local suppliers. One of the Broadwindsor Community Shop team described it as “bringing the village back to life”.

Helen Stiles, editor of Dorset Magazine, presented the award for Best Kept Hamlet to Alton Pancras, which due to illness was collected on their behalf by Chris Hildred of Buckland Newton. A fabulous buffet was laid on for the event by Dorset producers including Clipper Tea, Craig’s Farm Dairies, Fudges Biscuits, Honeybuns and Helen Furness Catering. The 2014 Dorset Village Awards will open for entries in January.

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