Shotley Reaches Final

Shotley Village of the Year Finalists

Thanks to the hard work and time put in by a large number of dedicated volunteers over a long period of time, Shotley has made the final three on the shortlist for Suffolk Village of the Year.

Following the success as Babergh Village of the Year, Shotley once again impressed a panel of judges, this time from Suffolk County Council to reach the final, with a new set of judges visiting our village on Saturday, August 22.

The final panel comprises of BBC Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin, Jayne Lindill from Suffolk Magazine, Cllr John Williams (SALC chairman) EADT editor Terry Hunt, and a representative from UK Power Network, who will visit points of interest around Shotley before meeting representatives of the large number of groups and organisations, which make this community so vibrant and inclusive.

Although Shotley affords many stunning views across the Orwell and Stour and has a number of picturesque walks, being village of the year is not about being picture postcard pretty, it is about the community and what the village offers its residents.

Of course three pubs, a couple of takeaways, a well-supported village shop and a garage that not only does repiars, MOTs and services, but continues to fly in the face of a national trend and continues to sell fuel (complete with personal service, smile and a chat) help, but it is the people that matter. We are lucky to have a proactive parish council that not only tries to find funding for local projects and activities, but its members actually get involved in a tangible way, often physically helping out.

The Heritage Woods, picnic area, gun emplacement and outdoor classroom is a good example of this with the Footpath Group doing a superb job in clearing the area, while also protecting the foreshore from erosion.

The HMS Ganges Museum attracts visitors from across the globe, while a visit to the two Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries at 1,000-year-old St Mary’s church makes for a poignant visit for all ages.  

Volunteers who organise and run groups, many of which have been here for generations, ensure young, old, and those in between, are catered for. Tangible help inclues the award-winning Good Neighbours' scheme that helps in picking up prescriptions, giving lifts and generally offering support.

The village hall hosts everything from Soup-a-lunch, carpet bowls, auctions, a cinema club, dances, as well as many other meetings, while the hugely popular Shotley Drama Group performances, while the Cubs, Scouts and Beavers meet there weekly.  

We are fortunate to have a wonderful Kidzone, which provides wrap around care for youngsters and a pre-school facility for those going on to primary school.

While many in the village will feel humbled, we probably should not be as surprised as we are at reaching this stage, because Shotley really is a wonderful village, hitherto, only truly appreciated and known about by our community.

If you would like join the huge group who have already stepped forward and represent your group or organisation on August 22 at the village hall, please contact VOTY coordinator Geraint Pugh 787182.

By Derek Davis on August 3rd, 2015