Epworth took first place in the Small Town category of the competition run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, beating runner-up Barton upon Humber and third-placed Messingham, while Belton scored above Burton-upon-Stather and Hibaldstow to be named winner of the Large Village group. Ealand won the Best Kept Playground section.
For Epworth, it is a particularly sweet success after a last minute tidy-up appeal was made by your Bells, following a late decision by the town council to enter.
Epworth TC chairman Coun Bob Fish said: “Although we entered this year’s Best Kept Villages in the hope of winning, it was more a case of seeking to get an outside perspective on what those with a critical eye would make of Epworth.
“Winning the award is major achievement and is recognition of the work of many people and organisations in the town. The report highlights the beautiful and imaginative planting at the Wesley Memorial Church, the largely litter-free streets and play areas, residents’ gardens and well presented shops.
“Credit is due to the members of North Lincolnshire street clearance team, to those who have sponsored hanging baskets and the ladies who have watered these over months, and to residents who have helped with upkeep of the large community planting tubs.
“I believe many people take great pride in our town, and give freely and willingly of their time. On behalf of the town council I say ‘Well done to all’.”
Epworth was just one mark off maximum possible scores for each judging criteria.