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Hethersett - The submission

There were two submissions from Hethersett for the community of the year award. One came from myself in my capacity as owner and editor of the Hethersett Village Web Site and a member of various village groups. The other came from Councillor Gary Wyatt on behalf of Hethersett Parish Council. Below are details of the submissions, each of which had to be in under 500 words, which have helped us to become the Pride in Norfolk Community of the Year for 2012:

Peter Steward's submission:

 

The village of Hethersett is a prime example of how groups and organisations can work together to enhance the quality of life of all its residents.

 
Over the past three years Hethersett has been working towards becoming the ultimate fitness and well being village and this resulted in 2011 in Hethersett being named Norfolk Sports Village of the Year and Norfolk Champion of Champions in a competition organised jointly by Active Norfolk and The Eastern Daily Press newspaper.
 
Three years ago a Hethersett Olympic Committee was formed to oversee Olympic themed events leading up to the London 2012 games. Hethersett's efforts were rewarded with a national Olympic Inspire award and this year the Olympic flame paid a special visit to the village - the only visit off its torch route in the whole of the UK. This year has seen a huge number of events organised in the village. These have included a special Pledge to Fitness day in January, the opening of a new children's play area on the Memorial Playing Field, an Open weekend in June which featured a 24 hour charity swimathon, a talent show, a sport in the park event featuring almost 30 pastimes free to enter, a two mile funrun, a ladies five a side football tournament, a church service, brass band concert and a three day flower festival. Other events have included a come and try sports evening and a Jubilee village fete.
 
In 2011 the Hethersett and Meltons Sports Association was set up to promote fitness, well being and sport and also enhance the environment in Hethersett. This has led this year to the launch of a social running club. Hethersett has also won the Active Norfolk South Norfolk Games for the past two years. Last year Hethersett were runners-up in the county finals and at the time of writing will be looking to go one step further in winning this year's event which will take place at Norwich Sports Park.
 
The Hethersett Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has been instrumental throughout the year in keeping the village clean and tidy with regular litter picks and also had time to produce a "Wild About Hethersett" book featuring a year of nature in the village.
 
Hethersett news is regularly featured in both the Wymondham Mercury and the Norwich Evening News and the village has an independent village web site that is kept up to date with news from various groups throughout the village at www.hethersett.org.uk.
 
New events this year have included the inaugural Hethersett 30/60 cycle ride which saw over 300 riders setting off from the village for a fitness ride throughout South Norfolk. In addition to the above Hethersett's four schools have played a hugely active part in village life as well as being involved in a pageant in the main ring at this year's Royal Norfolk Show. The village also has groups for every age and all tastes from WI and Mothers' Union to youth clubs, sports clubs, active churches, environmental groups, drama and pantomime groups and just about anything else imaginable.
 
Hethersett is a bustling and thriving village, one that residents are proud of and one the county should be equally proud of.

 

Gary Wyatt's submission on behalf of the Parish Council

On the surface, Hethersett may appear to be a rather plain dormitory community for Norwich-based commuters. It is large, with a population exceeding 6000, and likely to grow considerably larger. However, despite its size, dig a little deeper and you will find a definite 'village feel', with many very active clubs, societies and associations, and a general spirit of enjoying our surroundings and helping one another at the same time. It is tempting to name individuals to illustrate our community efforts but to do this would, we feel, reflect unfairly on the many unnamed people who work hard with little recognition. These people are the essence of our community spirit. 

So, we will concentrate on those who give their time on behalf of the whole community, rather than just their club members. Examples are numerous, but perhaps we should start with the most topical and one which has been nationally recognised. Over the past three years, an Olympic committee has been very active and has organised more Olympic-themed sporting and cultural events per head of population than anywhere else in the UK. To mark this effort, Sir Keith Mills, deputy chairman of London 2012, visited the village and the Olympic flame made a unique (yes, it really was unique) off-route visit. These events really brought the community together, with a considerable proportion of the population taking part. 

We would also mention that the village playing field and village hall are run by volunteer trustees who take on enormous responsibility and workload to keep these important and heavily used facilities running smoothly for all the community. The hall plays host to the incredibly popular annual pantomime which has been presented every year since 1970 and the playing field committee organised a Diamond Jubilee Fayre which was well attended despite atrocious weather. 

Another village group, HEAT (Hethersett Environmental Action Team), aims to help the community in a rather different way, organising regular litter picks, maintaining trees and other ornamental features, and promoting walking and energy conservation. The latter was helped by support from the Energy Saving Trust's Green Communities programme and by winning a 20,000 grant to install measures to reduce domestic energy use for vulnerable households in the village. HEAT recently completed a 'year of biodiversity' survey of the village and self-published the results in a beautiful book entitled 'Wild about Hethersett'. 

As a final example of the wider community effort, we mention the extremely comprehensive and detailed resource that is the village website (www.hethersett.org.uk). This is invaluable for anyone wanting information and up-to-the minute news about Hethersett. Although many people provide material for this site, it is meticulously maintained by one selfless individual putting in many hours work a week. This is a perfect example of how one person's work can benefit the whole community. 

All the above involve volunteers who give their time freely and willingly to enhance Hethersett, truly illustrating the pride we take in our village, surely an example of the (non-political) big society in action.