COMMUNITIES will soon find out if they have been successful in a prestigious competition to find Dorset’s best village.

The brushes have been out and flowers have been arranged as proud residents ensure the lanes, bus stops and churchyards are looking spick and span for the Dorset Best Village Awards.

Organising duties are in the capable hands of Dorset Community Action and its band of volunteers and Magna Housing Association has stepped forward again to be the main sponsor.

Other organisations and businesses, including the Dorset Echo, lend their support too by sponsoring different awards, and local authorities get involved too.

While the competition recognises rural communities which are clean and tidy, it has also proved to be a catalyst for the improvement of facilities and village life as it encourages people to take pride and raise standards.

Organiser Rita Burden said: “In spite of an awful summer when heavy rain forced us to extend our period of judging, there has been a very good standard this year.

“It was a pleasure to go round and visit different communities.”

Mrs Burden said judges weren’t necessarily looking for ‘chocolate box’ picture villages but instead considered the general care of a place including the upkeep of facilities, and how it builds a community spirit.

Street scenes are marked rather than individual gardens.

There were more than 55 entries this year including for the people’s project and the environmental champions award.

The competition is split into different categories with awards for best kept large and small villages, and the top hamlet.

Last year in a ceremony at Frampton village hall it was North Dorset’s night with Pimperne scooping best large village and Tarrant Monkton winning best small village. Alton Pancras in the Piddle Valley won best hamlet. A birthday cake was also cut after the ceremony to mark 25 years of Dorset Community Action organising the competition.

East Dorset District Council is hosting the awards presentation this year with a ceremony at Corfe Mullen village hall on Friday, September 21.