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28 October 2014

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Best Village in the South West
St Neot
The village of St Neot near Liskeard

St Neot near Liskeard has been awarded the title of the Best Village in the South West.

Take a look around the village and find out what makes it so special.


Village of The Year
Visit the competition's website to find out more about the history of the awards and to discover the 2002 winners.
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+ St Neot is celebrating becoming the Best Village in the South West.

+ St Neot may only have 350 people living there, 900 in the parish, but there is plenty to keep you busy.

+The village has its origins in mining and the wool trade.
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The picturesque village of St Neot is celebrating becoming the Best Village in the South West.

"We were beaten by what we would consider a town with 3000 people in Cambridgeshire," says Martin Eddy who co-ordinated the entry.

St Neot's new school
The new school is almost finished

"There is a lot going on with a new school opening in the spring and major work has been carried out on the church.

St Neot may only have 350 people living there, 900 in the parish, but there is plenty to keep you busy.

St Neot's village hall
There is always plenty going on in the village hall

"There are about 40 clubs and organisations that use the village hall," says Martin. "I wanted to book the hall myself during January and February, and there was not one day or night that was free!"

Mill wheels
These wheels represent the St Neot of yesteryear

The village has its origins in mining and the wool trade. It has grown over the years and community spirit is a major part of St Neot's success.


"The historic core of the village is built around two strengths, tin streaming and the medieval wool trade," explains Martin.

Many tin miners would walk over the bridge on their way home
The bridge in the centre of the village

"Years ago an elderly lady said to me that her Grandfather had trouble struggling to walk over the bridge as the miners came off shift. The volume of men walking over the bridge made it hard for the Grandfather to walk in the opposite direction!"

The village Post Office
The Post Office in St Neot

The Post Office is housed in one of the many old 15/16th century cottages that are right in the core of the village.

Famous windows

"The church had problems with water coming into the tower, the whole church was covered in scaffolding. We had a massive crane lift scaffolding on and off. It dominated the whole village for a time," remembers Martin.

Stained glass window
One of the famous church windows

"The church has the most complete set of medieval stained glass windows anywhere in England. People come from all over the place to see these amazing 15th and 16th Century windows."

One of the famous windows has been removed for a complete face lift.

"The window shows St George fighting the dragon. We have been given a grant of £32,000 to have the window completely restored," says Martin. "It has gone up to York to be restored. Each panel had to be chipped out, packed in boxes and transported all those miles."

The London Inn
The London Inn was used as a coaching inn when St Neot was one of the stops on the way to London

Martin was born in the village. He was very proud to go up to London to receive the award for Best Village in the South West on behalf of St Neot.

Martin and fellow villager John O'Neill received the award from Princess Anne and BBC broadcaster John Humphries.

St Neot carried off the regional category prizes for young people, older people and community life, as well as the overall regional title.

In their report of the village the judges stated:

"St Neot is a warm, energetic, happy and caring community that, although small in size, has a very big heart."

"On the August Bank Holiday we had a massive flower festival," remembers Martin.

"There were arrangements in every nook and crannie. The whole festival over the course of a week took £42,000."

Flower display
One of the many flower displays at the festival

"The judges of the village competition went very quiet, when we told them how much was raised, I think they were very surprised," smiles Martin.

"There has been £150,000 worth of work carried out on the church. Through our own fundraising and grant aid we are more or less clear of any debt."

No place like home

Martin grew up in the village and for a while worked away from the county.

"Cornwall is a funny place in the sense that it brings you back and I have been back here for 20 years," says Martin.

"It is a great place to live with a super sense of community spirit here. There is a lot of support for yourself and your family. People really care about what you do and that is priceless."

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