This year showed an increase in quantity and quality of the entries received. It became clear that comparing the activities and resources of the residents of a large suburban housing estate with those of a small village was somewhat unfair. Therefore we grouped the entries into those from large, medium and small settlements, based on the population.
The awards fund doubled this year, thanks to the generosity of the president of the charity David Laing. Given that some villages have previously found difficulty in spending their prize, the panel thought that making more rather than bigger awards was the preferred option.
Comparative judgements required very careful consideration, because virtually all entries showed lots of enthusiasm and a level of community spirit that was quite humbling. The final verdicts of the judging panel were as follows:
Large community award: Winner: Warmington £450 Runner-up: Blisworth £300
Medium-sized community award: Winner: Ecton Brook £350 Runner-up: Little Houghton £200
Small village award: Joint first prize Tiffield £200 Hinton-in-the-Hedges £200
Highly commended: Grange Park
One entry was ineligible for the community awards, but the efforts of young professionals Fergus Clarke & Shannon Sweeney in picking along an A14 approach road were highly commendable and the panel awarded £30 each towards the money they have spent on high visibility clothing and equipment.