Villagers in a close-knit community are celebrating after winning two prizes at an awards ceremony for the best Essex villages.

Great Maplestead won second place in the Essex Village of the Year and Best Kept Village competitions at the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) awards on July 9.

The village was judged on its great community spirit which thrives without shops, a post office or a pub.

Great Maplestead parish councillor Paul Knight said: “I think because we don’t have a pub we congregate to everything that is on because it’s a way to check up with friends and see if everyone’s alright.

“It is a really nice place to live, it’s an old-fashioned village but with a modern outlook."

See this week's Gazette for the full story.