Everything is ready for the start of this year’s Best Kept Village Competition. All the village entries have been received and the judging teams have been organised. The villages will be finalising their plans for making sure their areas will be kept spick and span throughout the judging period. So everything is ready to go.

John Perry, MBE, Chairman of the Best Kept Village Working Group, which organises the BKV competition on behalf of the Community Council of Staffordshire said:

“We have set up the judging teams for the 1st and 2nd rounds of the competition and held the Judges’ Meeting. This is just about the last thing we do before the 1st round starts. It gives us a chance to meet up with judges and leaders of the judging teams to run over a few minor changes in the judging procedure from last year, to brief the judges on the approach to marking. We want to make sure that judging is fair and consistent across the board and that all villages get a fair crack at the whip. Villages will have put in a lot of hard work with their entry and they will be committed to make sure that their village looks as good as it can throughout the competition and that they will have as good a chance of winning as possible.”

Entries are somewhat down on recent years for a wide variety of reasons; 45 this year compared with 55 last year. However Tutbury has entered again – they have only missed once since the competition began I 1956. In addition, the competition has welcomed the entry from Hednesford – the first ever in what organisers have called “the urban villages” category. Hednesford is hoping to do well and it is hoped that this will stimulate entries from other similar urban village communities in the years ahead. Numbers may be down this year, but the quality of entries is very good overall and it is clear that many villages have put in a good deal of hard preparatory work and that residents are willing to work together to keep their environments looking really good and, in particular free from litter.

There is bound to be keen competition for top honours at Area and County level again this year; but BKV is not all about winning. A number of villages probably feel that they don’t have a realistic chance of being the top village in their area or in the county as a whole. Nevertheless, they are determined to do all that they can to make sure that their village looks its best throughout the judging period – and indeed throughout the year. Residents are proud of their villages and they will put in time and effort to make sure that they are as clean and tidy as possible; with no litter or dog mess anywhere, attractive, well-manicured churchyards, good pub surrounds, pleasant, tidy spaces and interesting village features.

The first and second rounds of judging take place in May and June. The Best Large and Best Small villages will then be judged again in early July. All the winners will be announced at the traditional presentation evening on Monday 7 August at a venue yet to be confirmed..

John Perry said:

“I’m sure that you will see lots of activity in all the villages, which have entered BKV this year, over the next three months. Groups from the villages will be working to keep churchyards and open spaces in particular in good condition, sweeping out bus shelters and phone boxes and most of all doing regular litter picks throughout their areas to keep that scourge of modern society under control! Resident will be putting in some hard work to maintain the overall environment of their particular village up to scratch and to make sure that their village looks as good as it can. Who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of some judges as they go about their job!”

As well as the main BKV competition there will also be the traditional Children’s Poster competition for 5-7 and 8-11 year olds; and people will see many colourful posters illustrating BKV displayed in the competing villages. In addition, there will be a Children’s Poetry competition for the same age groups on the theme of BKV. Finally for those over 18 years there is a competition on “The Spirit of Best Kept Village”, sponsored by David and Jim Owen, the sons of the “founder” of BKV, Sir Alfred Owen. There will be a separate presentation evening to announce the winners of these complementary competitions in early September.


John T Perry, MBE

Chairman, BKV Working Group