Village sets out its stall to show it’s best

Wickham has been shortlisted for Hampshire Village of the Year. Exhibitors at an exhibition in Wickham Community Centre to showcase the village to judges.    Picture: Allan Hutchings (122684-220)

Wickham has been shortlisted for Hampshire Village of the Year. Exhibitors at an exhibition in Wickham Community Centre to showcase the village to judges. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122684-220)

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FROM Morris dancers, to local businesses and groups, and even an Olympic torch bearer, the people of Wickham turned out in force to support the bid to reclaim their crown as Village of the Year.

A judge from the Hampshire Association of Local Councils visited the picturesque village for the competition, where he was given a guided tour by a group including parish council chairwoman, Cllr Angela Clear.

It ended with a visit to the village’s community centre where numerous groups and organisations had put on an exhibition to show off Wickham.

Cllr Clear said: ‘We took him around The Square and everywhere we wanted to show him, and when we reached the community centre and saw all the organisations and what they had done, it put a lump in my throat.

‘I think the judge was quite taken aback as well.

‘We’re a close-knit community in Wickham, and we hadn’t given them much notice, so it was very impressive.

‘Obviously I’m very proud of Wickham, so I’m quietly confident, but it’s in the hands of the judges.

‘Thankfully the rain held off during the tour, and I can’t praise the villagers and the organisations enough.’

Wickham last took the title of best village in Hampshire in 2007.

‘We’ve done a lot this year for the Jubilee, so we thought it was time to have another go at it,’ Cllr Clear said.

Rebecca Wilson from Wickham carried the Olympic torch through Bath during the relay and was there to help the bid.

Cllr Clear added: ‘It was great to see her there, she was like a real celebrity to the children and was fantastic with them.’

The five villages that have been short-listed will be judged on several criteria, but they will be focusing mainly on the quality of life, how the pub is at the heart of the community and what has been done for the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics.

The winner will be announced in early September.

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