Suffolk Village of the Year 2023

Cockfield is Suffolk Village of the Year 2012

Suffolk VIllage of the Year LogoOnce in three years Villages of our size are eligible to enter the Suffolk Village of the Year Awards which is judged in three heats District, Semi-final (County) and Final.

Village of the Year Image
From Smithwood Green looking to the A1141

An information pack about the village its groups, societies, amenities, facilities etc. is collated and submitted to the district coordinator, the District Councillors visit the village and offer their marks on four categories, General Appearance of the Village, Special Activities that Impress, the Parish Council and Community Spirit This round of judging took place on 18th June.

A couple of weeks later the results were announced and Cockfield won!  We will be awarded the Cosford trophy, framed certificate and £500 towards a community project.

We scored high marks on out General Appearance and among the judges comments were:

  • Of particular interest was Earls Meadow- community land which is maintained to a very high standard, the gentleman who showed us around was really passionate about his subject.
  • The sense of community in Cockfield is very evident.
  • I loved the enthusiasm of all the people we met in Cockfield
  • I liked the fact that VofY was considered important – it seemed to mean a lot to everyone.
  • A real community atmosphere where everyone pulls together for the good of the village (and they make fantastic lemon cake too!)

The next round of the competition was on the 9th August when County judges and a representative from The Suffolk Wildlife Trust again put the village under a spotlight. On the 20th August we got the news that we were through to the final along with Bardwell and Worlingworth.

Feed back from the semi-final round was briefer but the judges were impressed with our First Responders and our Web Site.

Judging to name Suffolk’s Village of the Year took place on the 22nd September when Lesley Dolphin and Rob Dunger from BBC Radio Suffolk and Tracy Elsey from UK Power Networks, one of the Sponsors, came and see what we are all about. By this time we were getting used to showing judges around and again had knowledgeable persons stationed at strategic points about the village and in the Village Hall were representatives from all the village clubs, societies and organisations. Members of the Parish and Community Councils were there to answer the judge’s questions on matters such as the provision of local needs housing, and Section 106 spending.

The result of the final was announced on Rob Dungers Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Suffolk on Saturday 6th October at 7.40 am. The village waited expectantly to hear who had won and it was Cockfield! I phoned the radio station and was interviewed on air and we toasted the win with Bucks Fizz!

There followed a whirl of press interest and a further radio interview on the following Monday. There will be a reception on the 17th November when the awards will be presented and the whole village is invited to join in the party.

For winning not only do we get the accolade of Suffolk Village of the Year but we receive a cheque for £1,000, a firkin of ale from Adnams Brewery, £50 in gardening vouchers and a framed certificate.

It was also announced that we are joint winners of The Suffolk Wildlife Trust Environmental Award for our Earls Meadow Project and we share the £150 prize.

What’s the advantage to the village of entering the competition? More than the prizes, although the £1500 is very welcome, preparing the submission for the judges really focused on what’s good and not so good in the village, what provisions are in place and what is missing and how, as a village, we can improve. The other advantage is that the community again worked together to make the submission, show the judges around and be part of the presentation of the village in the village hall.

We all know how good as a village we do things, like the recent Jubilee Celebrations, local need housing and amenity provisions, where I think we score is that we do all that we do on a very small precept, it’s the village working for the village, giving their time end energy, which makes Cockfield a village to be proud of and it’s nice to know others think so too..

Janne Cutting-Keyton
Proudly representing Cockfield
Babergh and Suffolk Village of the Year 2012

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