Working hard to be the Best of the Best (now with photos!)

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(The website link that was here no longer works) Over 70 people were involved in Tuesday's visit by the judges of the Calor Best of the Best competition when Audlem was competing with 35 villages across England, Scotland and Wales for a £21,000 first prize and a very prestigious award — the best village in the country in the 10 years of the Village of the Year competition, sponsored by Calor.

After sending in a detailed 13 page written submission describing what goes on in Audlem, eleven village representatives described, with the help of a PowerPoint presentation, our community life, with an emphasis on the big events such as the Proms on the Park, the Music & Arts Festival, the Transport Festival, (The website link that was here no longer works) last year's VE/VJ celebration, the Fun-ky weekend and much more. The judges then heard about our local businesses and from younger and older representatives about their involvement in village activities. The presentation finished with comments about the environment, this website and other village communications and how the Parish Council gained Quality status. There was then a Question and Answer session, with searching questions about the Parish Plan and how we see the future developing, before the judges travelled in style, courtesy of Sid Seabridge's magnificent carriage and horses, to the Public Hall with the church bells ringing as the coach drove past. (The website link that was here no longer works)

As in the Village of the Year events last year, the atmosphere in the Hall was fantastic as the judges entered with live music, both modern and traditional being played. Over twenty village organisations had put on displays and they included Audlem Saints Under8's footballers in their kit to the 5As theatrical group in costumes from recent productions. It was a great effort and the village had pulled together a magnificent show. Chris Adlington, the chairlady of the judges, and Suzanne Weir of Calor both addressed the seventy or so there to say how impressed they had been. (The website link that was here no longer works)

Before the presentation, the judges had also had a brief visit to the canal, the locks and the Shroppie Fly (the outside only!) and had heard about the recent tree and bulb planting. With many trees now in blossom and many narrowboats negotiating the locks, it really did look superb.

We now have to wait a few weeks to see if we are in the shortlisted finalists. The final result will then be announced in London on 19th September.