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Ashwell cleans up at the village of the year awards

Ashwell was named Village of the Year North at the Calor Hertfordshire Village of the Year awards, 2009 held at the County Suite, County Hall, Hertford on Thursday 25 June and organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The award, sponsored by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC), was the first of its kind and NHDC’s Chairman, Cllr. David Miller, presented Vice Chair of Ashwell Parish Council, Christine Schwick, with a commemorative plaque for the village.

While the aesthetic appeal of Ashwell is well-known to its residents and visitors, Councillor Miller was delighted to present the award and keen to stress the achievements of the village:

“It is not about the sleepy, the picturesque – it is about villages that work, villages that have a ‘Golden Thread’ of community spirit running through them. Ashwell deserves this award because of so many different factors - environmental projects and excellent communications, the cleanliness of the village and its range of flora and fauna, and a totally inclusive village atmosphere that helps to make it a wonderful place to live and visit.

This is the first ever Village of the Year North award, and I can think of no worthier recipient than Ashwell, a village that epitomises all that is good about North Herts. It gives me great pleasure to give them this award."

Other award-winners last night included the village of Kimpton in the Business category which was praised for the way that small businesses throughout the village worked together, sharing advice, information and support. Ashwell was also highly commended in this category.

Further success for Ashwell came when Oliver Gordon, an Ashwell resident, was awarded the Dorothy Abel Smith Award for Young People. Oliver, 17, was cited as a “shining example of someone who really cares” by Dorothy Smith, who presented him with the award. She added:

“Oliver has written, produced and performed in numerous theatrical productions, many of which have been for the benefit of the older generation and for charities.”

As the winner of the Village of the Year North award, Ashwell will now be gifted with a special ‘totem pole’ trophy which will be put up in the village at a ceremony at 10.30am, Saturday 18 July, along with a cheque for £250.