TIME is running out for villagers to put forward their communities for a prestigious competition.

Residents who take pride in their area and like keeping it spick and span should not waste time entering Dorset’s Best Village Competition.

The Dorset Echo-supported contest is a celebration of the county’s communities and highlights all the good work going on behind the scenes.

Last year Child Okeford won the best large village and Tincleton won best small village.

Judges will be heading out this spring to inspect the nominees the awards ceremony will be held in the autumn.

But first, entries have to be in with competition organisers Dorset Community Action (DCA).

The deadline is 5pm on Monday, April 7.

Entry packs have been sent to parish councils, village hall committees and numerous other active community groups.

As well as praising tidy communities, there are awards for ‘green’ initiatives and the best projects involving local people. New for this year is an award for the best village shop sponsored by the Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

DCA’s competition organiser Rita Burden said: “Once again we are delighted with the entries we have already received but we would like to encourage those village communities who have not entered for a while, or have never entered, to come and join this exciting competition.

“The Environmental Champions award and The Best Village Shop category together with the Peoples Project award will involve wider interest groups.”

Expressions of interest for the Environmental Champions award need to be made by April 7 but entries do not need to be in until August 22.

Magna Housing has been the major sponsor for Dorset’s Best Village Competition since 2010 and has renewed its support this year.

Additional sponsorship comes from Dorset County Council, the four district councils, the Dorset Echo, Dorset Magazine, Blackmore Vale Magazine, Communities Living Sustainably, and Campaign to Protect Rural England along with local food producers Clipper Tea, Fudges Biscuits, Honeybuns, Craig’s Dairies, Denhay Farms and Helen Furness Catering.

DCA is encouraging groups to save paper and postage by entering the competition online if possible. Entry packs can be downloaded from dorsetcommunityaction.org.uk or by calling DCA on 01305 216407 to be sent a copy.