THE Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, has unveiled the Council for the Protection of Rural England' s plaque in Bratton for being the county's best-kept large village.

Mrs Troughton, who is also the CPRE Wiltshire President, said: "Bravo to Bratton. I have driven through it many times.

"How lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place, particularly with lovely villages like this to keep us all cheerful."

The ceremony took place on Sunday (Sept 15) opposite the Jubilee Hall where she unveiled a plaque and presentations of certificates were made to people involved.

Villagers were delighted with the award, with Chris Crosby saying: "I think it's brilliant.

"We only moved into the village three months ago and we feel so much a part of it already.

"I think seeing the turn-out for today epitomises how friendly and close a village it is."

Suzanne Brown added: "It is my first encounter of a best-kept village or anything like it."

Bratton scored 97 and out of maximum 98 points to take this year’s award.

Residents made a big effort to win the Large Village category this year and won't be able to enter the same category next year.

In recent years, Bratton has been first or second in the West Wiltshire Large Village category.

Anne Henshaw, Chairman of CPRE Wiltshire, said climate change was "high on the agenda" and CPRE was still working out policies at a national level to tackle water, energy, soil and air pollution.

Cllr James Sheppard, chairman of Wiltshire Council, presented a plaque to Peter Brabner, leader of the Tidy Bratton Group, who led and organised the volunteers and liaised with the parish steward and idverde.

The High Sheriff of Wiltshire, David Scott, presented a certificate to Ian Humphrey, a member of the St James' Church Monday Gang and of theTidy Bratton Group.

Peter Andrew, Group Director of The Hills Group, which sponsors CPRE Wiltshire's best kept village competition, presented a plaque to Shane Perry, of Wiltshire Council contractors idverde, who helps to keep the village clean and tidy.

MrsHenshaw presented a certificate to Steve Wallen, of contractors Ringway, standing in for parish steward Peter Wood, whom he often helps.

Wiltshire Council leader, Cllr Philip Whitehead, presented a certificate to Cllr Nicola Morris, Vice Chairman of Bratton Parish Council, who played a key role in finding resources to support volunteers.

Among their comments, the judges “were hugely impressed by the overall appearance of all three church areas.”

They also commented very favourably on the school surrounds, Reeves Orchard, conservation areas, the area around the shop, the war memorial, the village green, footpaths and the village website.