Everything ready for Best Kept Village competition

John Perry, MBE, Chairman, BKV Working Group (left) and William Read, BKV judge and member of the BKV Working Group, work on the planning of the Best Kept Village competition.

Everything is ready for the judging to begin in this year’s Best Kept Village competition. Entries have been received from 42 villages, which is lower than in recent years, but many of the stalwarts of the competition have entered again, including Tutbury, which has only missed one year since the competition began in 1956.

The teams have been organised for the first and second rounds of judging and the judges’ meeting has been held in Acton Trussell. John Perry, Chairman of the Best Kept Village Working Group, which organises the competition on behalf of the Community Council of Staffordshire, said:

“The judges’ meeting is just about the last thing which takes place before judging begins on 1st May. It is a good time for leaders and members of the judging teams to meet up, have a chat and review any changes to the marking schedule and discuss any potential problems which could crop up in this year’s judging. “Villagers have put a lot of hard work into their entries and will be anxious to make sure that their villages look as good as they can throughout the competition. The judges will want to make sure that all the villages are judged as thoroughly and consistently as possible, so that the Best Kept Villages emerge at the end of judging in July.”

While entry numbers are down a bit this year, Hednesford – the first “urban village” entry last year – has entered again and is hoping to do well, as will Penkhull, the second urban village to enter BKV. The competition also welcomes back Warslow, Tittensor and Forsbrook/Blythe Bridge, which haven’t entered for a few years.

The quality of this year’s entries is very good overall; many villages have put in some hard work in preparation for BKV and the judges are likely to have a difficult job to identify the winners. There is bound to be a close competition for the top at area and county level, but BKV is not all about winning. A number of villages may not feel that they have a realistic chance of being among the winners, but they enter BKV every year. They use BKV as a focus for their efforts to keep their village looking its best throughout the judging period at least – and for many, throughout the rest of the year too.

The first and second round judging takes place during May and June, then the best villages in each area are judged again in early July. The best villages in the county are judged once more in late July, when the Best Large and Best Small villages in the whole of Staffordshire will be revealed. All the winners will be announced at the traditional presentation evening on Monday, August 6, at a venue yet to be decided on.

John Perry concluded:

“There will be lots of activity over the next three months in all the villages which have entered BKV. Groups and individuals will be hard at work keeping churchyards, open spaces and play areas in good order, sweeping out bus shelters and phone boxes, keeping noticeboards, posters and all sorts of other things in good condition and, most of all, doing regular litter picks throughout the village.

“Villagers will be putting in some hard work to make sure that their village is kept in really good condition. Then, through May, June and July groups of judges will be looking carefully at all the villages and awarding marks until the Best Kept Villages for 2018 are revealed.”

Chris Welch, Chief Executive of the Community Council of Staffordshire, said:

“The Community Council of Staffordshire is extremely grateful to the generosity of all its sponsors, without which the competition could not go ahead.”

This year’s sponsors are: Staffordshire County Council, Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd, Lafarge Cement, The Leavesley Group, South Staffordshire Housing Association, John German Estate Agents, Woods Buxton, KGL (Estates) Ltd. There will also be complementary competitions linked to the main BKV competition.

There will be the now traditional Children’s Poster Competition for five to seven and eight to 11-year-olds, and there will be wonderful displays of the posters which have been produced in almost all of the villages which have entered BKV. There will also be a Children’s Poetry Competition for the same age groups on the theme of BKV. Finally, for everyone over 18 years of age there will be a competition in which entrants can use painting, sketches, photographs or prose (or a combination of these) to illustrate the theme of ‘The Spirit of BKV’. This will be sponsored again by David and Jim Owen, the sons of Sir Alfred Owen, the ‘founder’ of BKV.

Good luck to our local villages taking part in Best Kept Village 2018 including:

Burston, Fulford, Hilderstone, Oulton, Swynnerton, Tittensor, Abbots Bromley and Denstone