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2019 Rural Living Awards

31st January 2020

The Awards Presentation in October was a successful evening celebrating efforts made by individuals, groups and businesses to improve life in their community and/or to enhance the environment in Hertfordshire.

The Awards Scheme recognises those who work so hard to protect, promote and enhance the countryside and towns or villages to make Hertfordshire a better place to live, work, go to school or enjoy for today and the future. Everyone was eager to hear who would be receiving an Award.

Our thanks go to the Chair of Herts County Council who sponsored the evening. Mayors, Chairs and Councillors from the District and Borough Councils joined the celebrations and everyone was delighted to hear about the amazing things happening across the county.

The Abel Smith Award

For a young person, up to the age of 21, who has made an outstanding contribution to community life. Awarded to Max Watts who has been an inspiration to all the young people who attend the West Hyde & Maple Cross Youth Project. He has made an enormous difference to his community and raised a lot of money for local good causes.


Stevenage Youth Council whose members are focussing on the environment and reduction of wastage.

The Peterkin Award

For an adult over 21 who has made an outstanding contribution to community life and/or the environment. Awarded to Jonathan Forgham from Little Hadham who took over the management of the nearby 3.7 acre Millennium Wood in 2012 and formed the Friends. He is an outstandingly enthusiastic person who inspires others to share his love of the countryside and encourages a wide range of activities for all ages.


Alan Sparshott for working with a team of volunteers over many years to improve the environment at Digswell Playing Fields.

Business in the Community Award

For a business which has made an outstanding contribution to community life. Awarded to Wigginton Village Shop & Café. A community-owned and run business at the heart of the village. Since opening, the shop and café have become a community hub which has drawn everyone together, with people getting to really know their neighbours.

Highly Commended

Sarratt Post Office Stores, a community owned store which is run by volunteers and offers an impressive range of services and a Post Office.


Tring Brewery for their support of and fundraising for Gaddesden Place Riding for the Disabled.

The Community Award

For a project that is accessible to the community and has improved community life. Awarded to Mudlarks. They provide supported learning for adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues who gain in confidence and self-worth and acquire important skills.  These can lead to college places or meaningful work in the community. Our judge commented that Mudlarks is a wonderful charity serving many aspects of need. It is a tremendous asset to Hertford: the local area has benefitted from the improved local environment and has an increased understanding of the needs of individuals with learning difficulties.


The Community of Goff’s Oak, founded in 1974 to fight off threats to the village and still striving to preserve its rural nature for the benefit of the community.

The Environment Award

For a project that has improved the rural environment. Awarded to Batford Springs Volunteers who aim to keep the River Lea chalk stream and banks clear for the enjoyment of the local community. The conservation group is well led, active and skilled and some of the committee members are highly qualified in conservation. This is an outstanding example of community involvement working to improve and enhance the area.


Rivers Heritage Site & Orchard for the work done by volunteers to rescue an abandoned site and restore it to the community.

The Chairman’s Award

Awarded to Friends of Stocker’s Lake. Entirely run by volunteer Friends whose membership is over 700, activities in the Nature Reserve support the ‘key characteristics’ in Herts Landscape Character Assessment Area 3. The work of the Friends promotes access to the countryside, encourages public enjoyment with a range of activities for all ages, celebrates the work achieved following gravel-extraction and improves community life. Cattle have been introduced to graze open meadowland which will encourage plants and other wildlife.

Recipient of our 2019 Chairman's Award The Friends of Stocker's Lake