This annual competition is organised by Oxfordshire Rural Community Council and sponsored by Calor and judging took place in Yarnton village hall on Saturday 4th July where all 12 villages set out their stalls and answered searching questions about their villages from the judges. Goring competed against Addlerbury, Berinsfield, Chesterton, Chinnor, East Hagbourne, East Hendred, Hailey, Islip, North Newington, Shrivenham and Wendlebury and was awarded £1,000 for being the both the overall leader and winning the sustainability section of the competition.
It was a nail biting morning when the results were announced live on BBC Radio Oxford during the Breakfast Show on 10th of July. Each of the 12 villages was asked to stand by for a phone call from the BBC so that they could talk to the winning team immediately after the announcement. When it finally came there were shouts of excitement from the Goring team of Ron Bridle, Gill Cranshaw and Ann Hart.
Immediately following the announcement, the BBC Radio car was dispatched to Goring to tape interviews for radio and TV transmissions throughout the day. Ron Bridle, who co-ordinated Goring’s entry, said “In the past Goring has been fortunate in winning the Best Kept Village competition, but winning this competition is more significant. This is because it takes no account of the cleanliness and attractiveness of the village but places all the emphasis on what goes on below the surface, i.e. on community activities and the local social infrastructure. It is therefore a credit to all Goring’s residents and organisations that we have now been recognised as the best in Oxfordshire in this respect”.
All the competing villages were asked to structure their written entry forms into 4 basic categories; Community, Communications, Business and Sustainability. They then were asked to demonstrate in detail within each category what services and projects in which the village was involved to meet the needs of their residents. Goring showed that its 110 different organisations provided an exceptionally diverse range of services and activities. Many projects are innovative and aimed at serving both very small sections of the community and also the needs of the majority. Two examples of the many on-going projects of this type that caught the eye of the judges were:
- The ‘Mobility Access Map’ being produced to show the safest off-road access routes around Goring for the 30 or so disabled residents who use mobility scooters
- The ambitious £1.1 million Hydro-Electric Scheme where there is a plan to incorporate 3 large Archimedes Screws into a section of the weir to generate clean electricity from Goring’s biggest natural resource, the River.
Goring now will go on to represent Oxfordshire in the national competition to find the best village in England and ultimately the UK.
Calor set up the Village of the Year Competition in 1997, to help promote sustainability among rural communities