A NORTHUMBERLAND village has been named the best in the whole of England.
People living in Allendale were celebrating last night as their village won the 2007 Calor Village of the Year competition.
Last week The Journal revealed how Allendale had made it through to the final five, and at a plush award ceremony in London yesterday the village was crowned overall champion.
For winning the competition, Allendale receives £7,000 in prize money, on top of the £2,000 it had already scooped for getting to the final of the competition.
It also won a further £1,250 for winning regional category prizes during the early judging rounds.
Larry Winger, chairman of Allendale Village Hall Trust, who was behind the bid, said last night: “We’re really thrilled. Everyone’s really proud to be in Allendale and to have beaten all the other villages in the country.” Mr Winger said villagers intended to use the money to make the current redevelopment of Allendale’s recreation ground even better, and hopes to be able to include the cast-iron plaque he received yesterday as a feature there. The award was presented by guest of honour, food writer and presenter Sophie Grigson.
It is the first time a village from the North-East has won the award, beating off competition from villages in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.
Calor managing director Alex Davis said: “Winning the title of Village of the Year for England is a fantastic achievement and the community of Allendale should be extremely proud.
“Only the most vibrant, enterprising and caring communities get through to the final stages of this competition and this year in particular our independent judging team were faced with some excellent villages.”
When the judges came to Allendale, businesses and community groups held stalls in the village hall to demonstrate the activity in the village.
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And we’re on the world map as well...
A LEADING travel guide will today proclaim what we all knew already — that the North-East is one of the world’s “must-see” destinations.
The region is one of only 30 places around the world to make it into the “Go-List” section of the new edition of Lonely Planet’s Bluelist 2008.
The book, which is now in its third year, is a collection of the best trends, destinations, journey and experiences from around the world.
And this year’s edition heaps praise on the North-East, describing it as “the most exciting, beautiful and friendly region in the whole of England”.
It highlights the region’s rejuvenated cities, fascinating history and Northumberland’s dramatic wilderness as the main attractions.
The guide goes on to say: “If your image of North-East England is of coal mines and bad weather, then it’s time you forgot your preconceived ideas and discovered the most exciting and friendly area in the whole of England. Stretching from the River Tees to the Scottish Border, the North-East sees nine million visitors annually, with overseas numbers rising by 30% in the last seven years.” The guide singled out a number of hotspots in the region, lauding Berwick for its exciting history, the beauty and tranquility of Kielder, the grandeur of Durham Castle and the excitement of the annual Great North Run. But it’s not just the major attractions and events which are featured – quirky events including the Tynedale Beer Festival in Corbridge were also included.
Lonely Planet’s accolade for the North-East is featured in a chapter dedicated to highlighting the up-and-coming destinations in the influential guide.
Last year’s edition tipped Belfast as a must-see destination and the very same year the city saw a record number of visitors.
One NorthEast’s head of marketing Tania Robinson said: “Being named as one of the 30 must-see destinations for 2008 confirms that North-East England is a truly world-class destination. This ringing endorsement from this most influential of guides confirms a lot of what we are doing in promoting North-East England – and changing perceptions is working.”
Lonely Planet spokesman Tom Hall said: “The authors and staff at Lonely Planet got together to discuss which places they have really enjoyed going to and North-East England is a place which really, really stood out.
“It’s got such diverse attractions, from interesting cities such as Newcastle and Sunderland, one of the most fantastic coastlines in the world and, if you’re after wilderness, the Northumberland hills can’t be beaten.”
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “This is fantastic news and underlines how we are now firmly established as a must-see destination not only in the UK and Europe, but across the globe.”
Find out more abuot Londly Planet's 30 must-see destinations by going to www.lonelyplanet.com/bluelist