STAPLEFORD has been named as the best small village in Wiltshire in The Hills Group CPRE Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition 2014.

The village beat off competition from 51 others across the county to win the prestigious prize that was decided by expert judges from the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Each village was judged on tidiness, cleanliness, presentation and village community spirit, something that Stapleford was deemed to have excelled at.

John Gibbs, clerk of the parish council, told the Journal that work goes on all year round to keep Stapleford in good condition.

He said: “We have been entering the competition for many years but this is the first year that we have managed to win.

“The competition is judged on more than just tidiness, it also looks at the levels of facilities that are in the village.

“We have a playground, pub, shop and a football pitch |which is in excellent condition and is enjoyed by the older children.”

He also believes that the community spirit in Stapleford is very good and it reflects in the general upkeep of the village.

He added: “The chairman of the parish council goes round the village every Monday morning to check everything is in order and picks up any rubbish he sees.

“There is one man in the village that takes the time to care for the bus stop and cuts the lawn around it.”

Each winning village will be presented with an eight foot standard with mounted shield which is then placed on their village green.

An award ceremony will take place at Stapleford on Sunday, October 12 where the Lord-Lieutenant for Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton will unveil the shield.

Stapleford will now be unable to compete in the competition next year but can battle it out to become the best-of-the-best.