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Vibrant communities celebrated at 2012 EDP Pride in Norfolk awards

PUBLISHED: 10:09 01 December 2012

EDP Pride in Norfolk Award winners representatives(l to r) John Chapman from Caston, Kath Jones from Pulham St Mary, Michael Bartlett from Starston, Heather Longman from , Steve Busby from Great Ryburgh, Elaine Clutton from Hunstanton, Gary Wyatt from Hethersett and Tanya Bunting from Emneth with(centre) vice chairman Martin Wilby, chairman Jean Wilson and County Council chairman Ian Monson. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

EDP Pride in Norfolk Award winners representatives(l to r) John Chapman from Caston, Kath Jones from Pulham St Mary, Michael Bartlett from Starston, Heather Longman from , Steve Busby from Great Ryburgh, Elaine Clutton from Hunstanton, Gary Wyatt from Hethersett and Tanya Bunting from Emneth with(centre) vice chairman Martin Wilby, chairman Jean Wilson and County Council chairman Ian Monson. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Proud Norfolk communities were celebrated for the special qualities which made them such unique, vibrant and inspiring places at an annual prize-giving ceremony last night.

The 2012 EDP Pride in Norfolk awards were presented at County Hall in an event opened by county council chairman Ian Monson.

After picking up their celebratory plaques, several winners spoke about the “buzz” in their community – the positive energy generated by people helping each other to improve their surroundings for the good of their families, their neighbours and visitors.

All the representatives who collected awards on behalf of their towns and villages hailed the efforts of the armies of volunteers, fundraisers, organisers, innovators and stalwarts who had made the difference to where they live.

Jean Wilson, chairman of the Pride in Norfolk committee, said: “All the judges said they were absolutely over-awed by the efforts which people make in communities of all sizes. The whole thing is about community spirit; it is about working together and being all-inclusive.

“We have had applications from Hunstanton to Harleston, all the way from north to south, and from Emneth in the west to Somerton, near Yarmouth. The quality has been superb and I would encourage lots more people to enter next year. You can see why people want to live in these communities.”

The long-running award scheme is organised by Norfolk County Council, sponsored by the EDP and supported by the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Norfolk Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI), the Norfolk Rural Community Council (NRCC) and the Norfolk Association of Local Councils. There are five categories, based on the size of the population, and three special awards presented by the sponsors.

After his village won the under-500 category, Caston Parish Council chairman John Chapman said: “We are very pleased. Our village has a wonderful buzz – we are very proud to live there and the community spirit is just great.

“Everybody joins in and helps each other out, and that is what a vibrant community is all about.”

The under-1,000 prize was awarded to the resurgent village of Great Ryburgh.

Steve Bushby, a member of the village’s local amenity group, said: “This is a wonderful and very positive recognition of just how far our village has come in recent times, and how it pulls together in times of difficulty.

“Now we have got this enthusiasm, and the community spirit which was always there, and all the different organisations are tapping into it and working together.”

The west Norfolk village of Emneth won the under-2,500 award.

Michael Clayton, former chairman of the village’s playing fields committee, said: “It means a lot to the community, because it is the fantastic community effort, with everyone working together, which has got us to where we are today.

“People put in a tremendous volunteer effort and the traders and business people of Emneth pulled out all the stops to support us financially.”

For the second year running, the under-5,000 prize was awarded to Hunstanton. The prize was collected by mayor Elaine Clutton and town clerk Lisa Powell, who said: “We have a really good community spirit and when it is recognised with an award like this, it gives you that extra buzz.

“As soon as we found out we had won, it spread like wildfire around the town. Everyone was excited about it and talking about winning it again next year.”

Hethersett, just south of Norwich, won the over-5,000 category.

Gary Wyatt, vice chairman of the parish council, said: “There are dozens of different organisations working together in Hethersett, and this reward is really for all those unsung heroes in our village – those working behind the scenes to make it such a thriving community.”

The CPRE Norfolk Community Green Space award was won by Glebe Meadow in Starston.

The former chairman of the organising group, Michael Bartlett, said: “It was a project that brought a huge number of volunteers in the village together. Something like 60pc of the village contributed money and when you add all the volunteers, it would make about 80pc of the village who contributed something. It is a small village, with a big project.”

The WI Forward to the Future Award recognised the work done on behalf of young people in Thurlton.

Heather Longman, who collected the award, said the £100 prize for the category would help the ongoing fundraising effort. She said: “I am very pleased with the award. Whatever we try to do, we need funding – and this is a great boost.”

The NRCC Best Community Building prize went to the Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary.

Sheila King, from the centre, said: “We have, from the outset, tried to break new ground with this project. It has been hard work financially and organisationally, but we have a great bunch of staff and volunteers working so to get this recognition for them is amazing. It is a great accolade”

For more details on the Pride in Norfolk awards winners, see today’s EDP.

The EDP will run a series of features on some of the winning communities during the coming weeks – beginning on Monday with Great Ryburgh.

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