Shotley celebrated in style as the village was presented with three prestigious awards.
Jim Catlin, Shotley Parish Council vice-chairman and Geraint Pugh, who had coordinated the campaign, accepted the Suffolk Village of the Year award from Suffolf Association of Local Councils (SALC) John Williams and sponsors UK Power Network's Tracy Elsey, the Babergh Village of the Year prize from Babergh's chairman Nick Ridley, and the Suffolk County Council's best Open Spaces aacolade, from Anita Seymour.
Nearly 200 people were at the Village Hall to enjoy the speeches, massaive array of food all brought by villagers, including a Hog Roast donated by Shane Rolin at the Bristol Arms, drinks, including a firkin of ale donated by sponsor Adnams, more drinks from Sarah Pallant at the Rose and danced to music by a DJ (the only person who was paid).
The wondereful atmosphere and generosity of all involved epitomised why the judges thought so highly of Shotley and voted them top, despite fierce competition from Grundisburgh, who won the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Conservation award and whose representatives were very magnanimous, West Row and also Long Melford and Stoke by Nayland, who were babergh runners up.
Mr Pugh, who co-ordinated the entry which involved more than 40 community groups, the Scouts, Kidzone, and HMS Ganges Museum, hailed the army of volunteers who helped make Shotley such an inviting and welcoming village to live and visit.
Nick Ridley, chairman of Babergh District council, praised Long Melford and Stoke by Nayland, who were runners up in the Babergh competition and hailed Shotley for its outstanding community spirit and uniqueness.
Shotley also took the award for Suffolk County Council Open Spaces, with Anita Seymouyr making the presentation of £100 and a certificate Shotley was also recently, as part of the IP9 post code, named as the 18th best place in England and Wales to raise a family.
District councillor Derek Davis told the large gathering how a positive ‘can do, will do’ attitude prevailed and the hard work and dedication by so many people over a long period of time culminated in Shotley winning the award it had never previously entered. Cllr Davis added the awards were just the beginning of a new era for Shotley, and how important it was to build on this positivity for future generations.
Suffolk County councillor David Wood spoke of the success the peninsula has had in winning the award and congratulated Shotley for the work it had done, particularly in improving the footpaths and Heritage Park.
The awards were sponsored by BBC Radio Suffolk, Adnams, Suffolk Magazine, UK Power Networks and the EADT.