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Audlem's success in Village of the Year

21st October 2005 @ 11:11am – by Richard Furber
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As many will know, Audlem has won the title of Cheshire's Village of the Year. The village has also won the award of 'Most Vibrant Village in Cheshire' and the 'Building Community Life' title. The awards were announced by Cheshire Community Council and were presented in Audlem Public Hall on Monday 17th OctoberTwenty-seven Cheshire villages had been considered and six short-listed during the judging process.

. Audlem also became Cheshire's representative for the regional judging of the Village of the Year competition and is now competing with nine leading villages from across the North and North West of England, a huge area that includes Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumberland, County Durham, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire as well as Cheshire. This involved a visit by the judges to the village, also on 17th October. They heard a presentation by village representatives and met people from many of the clubs and societies operating in the village. If successful in this stage of the competition, Audlem would then be a contender for the national award of Village of the Year which is sponsored by Calor Gas.

We were told by the judges of the Cheshire competition that they were particularly impressed by the major events organised by the village and how the money earned was then returned to village organisations and to provide new facilities. As well as the increasingly well-known major events, there was activity throughout the year which helped to build a real community spirit involving people of all ages.

We decided to put on a real show for the regional judges because to get through to the national final would be extremely prestigious. So a small team was formed which planned the day's programme. We asked twelve people to give a presentation, backed by PowerPoint slides, in the Methodist Church's Seville Room. Bob Cartwright, Nancy May Goodwin, Ralph Warburton, Paddy Kenshole, Mike Hill, Paul Moran, Judy Benson, Pete Marshall, Charlotte Guerin, Jim Winfield, Greville Watts and myself all contributed while John Gunstone, who had produced the slides, operated the equipment. Afterwards we fielded questions about local issues from the judges.

Next it was up to the Public Hall. Sid Seabridge's open carriage and horses had a dramatic effect and the judges said they would always remember Audlem as they had never travelled in such style in their lives. St James' school children who were at their Harvest Festival rehearsal, ran down from the Church and waved and clapped as the coach went by. It was a wonderful sight, perfectly timed by Pam Seddon, who was co-ordinating events on the day.

The atmosphere in the Public Hall was amazing when we walked in. Live music was provided by Jim Kirkpatrick, Al Dean and John Gunstone and by the hurdy-gurdies of Forlorne Hope. Exhibitions had been arranged and were being manned by the Brownies, Cubs and Guides; the 5As with cast members in stage dress from their productions; the Youth Club; the Fun-ky Weekend team; The Music & Arts Festival; the WI, who also supplied the catering in the Hall and the Methodist Church; the Embroiders' Guild; the History Society and Probus, who laid on their exhibition from the VE/VJ Day celebrations; a display by Audlem's three churches; the Parish Council and the Audlem Saints Football Club with the youngsters all in their playing kit. Photographs from numerous Audlem events were running on a giant TV lent by St James' School. The judges were clearly impressed and spent 45 minutes circulating and talking to the seventy or so people there. The chairman of the judges then gave a speech saying how impressed they had been with everything they had seen in Audlem.

After the regional judges had left, somewhat reluctantly we like to think, to visit a village in Lancashire, Audlem was presented with its three awards by the Cheshire Community Council, the Department of Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Calor Gas, sponsors of the competition. Representatives from five other Cheshire villages were also presented with their 'Highly Commended' awards.

These awards are a huge boost for the village. Audlem has made a real name for itself in recent years with the big annual events such as Proms on the Park, the Transport Festival, the Fun-ky Weekend for children and the Music and Arts Festival. This year's 60th Anniversary Commemoration of VE/VJ day was also a wonderful event. I would like to say a big thank you to the village organisations and all who have helped us gain this recognition. I am sure everyone involved this Monday must have been very proud of our community spirit and our success.

If you would like to contact Richard Furber, Chairman of Audlem Parish Council about this article, send a message to the webteam and we will gladly pass it on.

This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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