Fullers Brewery Village of the Year
Compton & Shawford 2010 Competition Entry
As any local resident or visitor strolls over Shawford Down, they are inevitably struck by the beauty of the natural landscape. Fears about the large curved horns of the Highland Cattle, introduced to add to the bio-diversity of the Down, can be immediately allayed, as the breed was specially chosen for its particularly docile characteristics, yet another proof that appearances can be so deceptive.
Not so, at the bottom of the Down, where The Bridge Inn lives up to all its promise of a welcoming environment, in its unique riverside setting. All it needs now to make it perfect is Fuller’s beer on tap, as we parish councillors who repair to The Bridge after our monthly meetings keep saying to the manager. When one of the local Ladies’ group ends its charity carol-singing round here, our coffers are always generously swelled by those enjoying a quiet drink or a meal from the wide choice available. Even more importantly, they keep asking us back!!!
Compton and Shawford remains a village community, as it was historically, stalwartly resisting attempts to divide it in two by the A33 bypass and, more latterly the M3. It is so special because of the villagers themselves. We support each other in times of difficulty, for example, delivering home-made meals to families in which cancer and other serious illnesses have struck. Fun activities, such as dancing to Hot Rabbit, summer evening picnics, barbecues and quizzes raise money for charities with local connections.
Last summer’s village fête, jointly organised with All Saints’ School was greatly enjoyed by all ages, with the generous proceeds shared between the School and the Church.
There is a wide variety of thriving clubs and societies on offer, which are extremely well-subscribed. Bridge buffs, dedicated gardeners, budding singers and many more can find fellow enthusiasts and superb facilities in our village, thanks to our excellent Parish Hall and the Reeves Scout Hall. For those keen to promote health and well-being through sport, the extensive Memorial Playing Fields and Sport England pavilion echo the sounds of football and cricket every weekend, whilst our triple tennis courts are enjoyed by well over two hundred members, junior, senior and veteran.
Monthly meetings of All Saints’ Guild, the Sapphire Club and two Women’s Institutes ensure that ladies of all ages can enjoy each other’s company, exchange views with visiting speakers and generally “look out for each other”. The men have had their revenge, organising their BNO, Boys’ Night Out.
As a parish council, we are constantly on the alert for ways to sustain our vibrant community life and to develop it further. Our youngest members spend hours in the play areas, recently refurbished with excellent facilities to fire the imagination. We are currently exploring ways of enhancing community cohesion, with links between the Parish Council and the local school, seeking to involve volunteers in activities, such as “litter picks”, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to maintaining the unique natural environment and community spirit of our village.
Entry submitted by Una Stevens, Parish Council Chairman