West Row is one of Suffolk’s top two villages

WEST ROW: Village of the Year runners-up''West Row has come second in the Suffolk Village of the Year competition, Cllr Rosalind Hamill with committee members and villagers by the village sign outside St Peter's Church.'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150809-170216009
WEST ROW: Village of the Year runners-up''West Row has come second in the Suffolk Village of the Year competition, Cllr Rosalind Hamill with committee members and villagers by the village sign outside St Peter's Church.'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150809-170216009

Community leaders and residents in West Row are celebrating after the village was crowned the second best in the county.

It was announced as runner up in the Suffolk Village of the Year competition last Friday, with the top spot going to Shotley, near Ipswich.

Cllr Rosalind Hamill, Mildenhall parish councillor for West Row ward, believed the village’s ‘community spirit’ was integral to its achieving the accolade.

“We are very pleased, the community spirit was fantastic. We’ve had nearly 100 people lend support in various ways and we put on a good show,” she said.

“I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge all the help and support that everybody has given.”

After making it through to the final three, the village was visited on August 22 by judges Lesley Dolphin, BBC Radio Suffolk presenter, and John Pitchford, of Suffolk County Council.

They toured the village, stopping at the church, chapel and school, then visited the village hall where there were indoor and outdoor displays from community groups and organisations including the police, Historical Society, local businesses, the equestrian community, the football club and Mildenhall Stadium.

Cllr Hamill said: “We are conscious of our history and our past, so we tried to show that. We also embraced the American community who live alongside us and join in with everything we do.

“It is not a quaint village, but we have a fantastic, diverse community and a good reputation.

“It has highlighted what West Row can do for its residents. We hope this success will gather more support.”

Michael Peachey, chairman of the West Row Village Hall and Playing Fields Association, said: “West Row is a great village in which to live with a very strong sense of community, and I think this really came across when the judges visited us.

“Although it would have been nice to have won, we can be really proud of being officially crowned one of the top two villages in the county - and rightly so!”

Cllr Hamill said there are some who ‘would like to get recognition’ for West Row as an individual entity, in spite of its long association with the parish of Mildenhall.

“There are those who think we are large enough and dedicated enough to do it on our own,” she added.