Raise your glass to the county's best village!

North Waltham villagers at the launch of their village plan earlier this year

North Waltham villagers at the launch of their village plan earlier this year

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

NORTH Waltham has been named the best village in Hampshire.

Five communities were short-listed for the top spot in the 2010 Hampshire Village of the Year, and North Waltham was chosen as the winner.

Organised by the Hampshire Association of Local Councils and sponsored by Fuller’s Brewery, the competition judges various aspects of village life, including care and support, sustaining community life and health and well-being.

Consideration was also given to evidence of the local pub having strong links with the community.

North Waltham Parish Council will be awarded £500 prize money to spend on the village after entering it into the competition.

Karen Bleazard, clerk to the parish council, said: “I have put something in the parish magazine to ask the villagers what they would like the money to be spent on.

“It’s fantastic to have won. I think it proves what we all know; that it’s a very nice village to live in.”

Steven Luggs, who organised the competition, said: “It was very, very close this year, with North Waltham edging out Grayshott. It was interesting to see that in most successful village communities, the local pub is at the heart of activity.”

Rob Mackenzie, landlord of The Fox pub in Fox Lane, hosts the popular Oyster Festival in the village every year and runs a successful restaurant as part of the business.

The 72-year-old who lives above the pub, said: “We have been here for seven years and it’s a great village. There’s lots of things going on.”

Churchwarden Jan Woodfin has lived in the village for ten years.

The 60-year-old of Chapel Street, said: “I think the community is very friendly and very supportive and it’s a real village. We have lots of events which you can join in with.”

Pip Hartley edits the parish magazine and her three children attend North Waltham Primary School.

The 37-year-old of Steventon Road, said: “There are church fetes and harvest festivals. There’s always something going on and lots of fundraising events for the church.”

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