Villages Battle it Out for Calor Crown
29 September 2011
The battle to become this year's Northern Ireland Calor Village of the Year is hotting up with 12 villages selected to go forward in a bid to win the coveted title and a share in a prize fund worth £12,000.
The competition celebrates vibrant, enterprising and caring rural communities and the vital role they play in life in Northern Ireland. Run in conjunction with the Rural Development Council, it is open to all rural communities and villages with a population of less than 4,500.
Four villages - Cloughey, Portaferry, Strathfoyle and Toome - are vying for the Calor Village of the Year Large Community title and a cash prize of £3,500.
Six villages - Ballintoy, Gleno, Gortnaghey, Seaforde, Seapatrick and Swatragh - are going head-to-head for the Calor Village of the Year Small Community title, again with a case prize of £3,500.
Cloughmills and Loughmacrory have also been successful in getting through this year, after entering one of this year's five special categories - Building Community Life, Business, Young People, Environment and Older People. There is a prize of £1,000 for the winner of each category.
A team of judges has recently visited each village to meet local representatives, who had the opportunity to present their village and demonstrate why they feel they should win.
Ian McCracken, Sales Director at Calor, said: “We have been supporting this competition for the past nine years and have never been let down by the high quality of entries, as well as the commitment and enthusiasm shown by local people in showcasing all that is good about their village.
"All the villages and rural communities on the shortlist reflect real community spirit and undoubted pride - I would like to wish them the best of luck throughout the judging process.”
Martin McDonald, Chief Executive, Rural Development Council, said: “The Calor Village of the Year competition is now a mainstay in Northern Ireland - a true sign that the summer has officially arrived!
"Over the next few weeks we are really looking forward to visiting each village contesting this year's competition, meeting all the people involved and seeing first hand the successful projects they have implemented to bring their local communities together. We wish everyone the very of luck."
The winner of both 2011 Calor Village of the Year titles will be announced at a major awards ceremony next month.
In 2010, it was the Co. Antrim village of Broughshane which took the honours.
[Pictured - 'Village Crier' Maeve Cullen, 5, starts the countdown to this year’s Village of the Year awards, which take place next month. A total of 12 villages have been shortlisted to share in a prize fund worth £12,000.]