The award winning village of Ashover in Derbyshire welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales for a tour of the community on Friday 8th December.
Unfortunately, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was unable to attend.
Ashover was crowned the Calor Village of the Year® for England in 2005 as well as winning the Central England area of this year´s special Calor Village of the Year ‘Best of the Best’ awards which were run by Calor to celebrate the competition's tenth anniversary.
After being welcomed to the village by a choir of children from the local primary school, HRH commenced on a tour of the community - concluded outside the Bassett Rooms when HRH was invited to unveil a commemorative plaque and switch on the village´s Christmas tree lights.
Prior to the event, Suzanne Weir, Calor Village of the Year manager, said: "We are delighted that HRH The Prince of Wales will be spending time in Ashover meeting members of the community and getting a sense of the qualities which won the village its national title in 2005 and that took it through to the final stages of this year´s 10th Anniversary Awards."
"I hope that this continued support will encourage more and more communities to get involved in the competition in future years and help it go from strength to strength."
|HRH The Prince of Wales at the start of his visit on December 8th 2006||Welcome to Ashover Your Royal Highness|
|Meeting some of Ashover's youngsters||Don't fall!|
|Calor Village of the Year's Suzanne Weir welcoming HRH The Prince of Wales||Ashover's butcher doesn't just sell meat!|
|More Ashover youngsters||Past All Saints Church|
|Inside The Post Office||A tune from Ashover's young Chime-ringers|
|A refreshing cup of tea with some Ashover locals||Ashover Brass Band|
|Local cider is an Ashover speciality||It's getting dark!|
|A warm welcome everywhere, including the pub||If you insist|
|A good time was had by all||An owl called Latte|
|How do you do?||A chat with Ashover's farming community|
|Celebrating Ashover's regional win in the Calor 10th Anniversary Calor Village of the Year||Switching on the Ashover Christmas Tree Lights|
|Jim Moyes and Suzanne Weir of Calor with HRH The Prince of Wales||Presentation of the 10th anniversary Village of the Year Award|
Winner of last year's Calor Village of the Year® for England competition, Ashover clearly has a bright future - but the village, visited in December 2006 by HRH The Prince of Wales, also has a rich and remarkable history.
The church currently standing was built around 600 years ago - though parts are older still. One doorway, incorporated from the previous building, is known to have been built in 1275.
Church life has always played a key role in the community, and indeed the 128ft spire has long been recognised as a landmark in the region.
In the 15th Century lead mining became the focal point of the village - and remained the main source of Ashover's prosperity for centuries. The Gregory Mine, in the Miltown area, was in fact one of the most productive in Derbyshire for years.
It is unsurprising that mining became such a feature of life in Ashover. The region is surrounded by grit stone hills, and it was not until the dawn of the 19th Century drew close that vehicles really managed to get into the village. Consequently, Ashover was forced into self-sufficiency - relying on dairy farming and mining.
Mining reached its heyday during the 18th Century, when the Gregory Mine was employing 300 people - though the reliance on mining was to come to an end less than 100 years later.
By the 1850's, the village was a thriving community providing for almost every need. A gazetteer of 1859 lists numerous farmers, cornmillers, a malster, butchers, blacksmiths, a carpenter, shoe makers, tailors, dressmakers, printers, gardeners and, of course, public houses.
There were, at this time, five pubs in the village - of which three are still standing today. The Crispin, The Black Swan and Old Poet's Corner (formerly known as The Red Lion) all date from around the 17th Century.
During the Victorian period, Ashover revelled in the improved transport access to the area, as it became a much-visited tourist village.
Historian and author Cecil Lugard was one fan of the area - so much so that he set up home there and wrote two works about the village ('The Inns and Outs of Ashover', 1923, and 'The Saints and Sinners of Ashover', 1924).
The village continues to attract, with the famed Ashover Show drawing the community together each and every August. The show is one of many events and attractions in a village which boasts a social calendar as packed as anywhere else in the country.
A community centre, which sees so much of the village's activity, is named after the Bassett sisters - residents of Ashover and members of the family famous for creating Liquorice Allsorts.
Indeed the first mix of liquorice was made in an Ashover cottage - another claim to fame for the small village with a big history.
With such a rich history to draw on, the present Ashover community continue to strive to make the most of their local opportunities and assets in order to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all inhabitants. They are a wonderful example of what the Calor Village of the Year competition at all levels is aiming to achieve - a well balanced, pro-active, caring sustainable community.
All pictures & text reproduced by kind permission of CALOR