YOU could have knocked over the residents of flood-hit Croston with a kitchen mop.
As the big clean-up drags on more than eight months after Storm Eva struck, the devastated community has swept up one of the top awards in Lancashire’s Best Kept Village.
“To say it’s a surprise is an understatement,” said parish councillor Cath Almond. “No-one expected this.”
Croston, still littered with skips and workmen’s vans, has been voted the winner of the large village category in the 2016 awards.
It beat 14 others including Preesall and Knott End, Grimsargh and Hesketh Bank to the title despite the ravages of the Boxing Day deluge.
“We are obviously very pleased to win,” said Cath, who is just in the process of having a new kitchen fitted and is still without carpets. “Whether the judges took into consideration there would be a lot of work still going on I don’t know. They must have.
“But after the 2016 we’ve had it’s great to have something to celebrate. We have been doing the best we can to keep the village as tidy as possible, despite all the work that’s still going on. We always pick up litter and make sure it looks as good as it can.
“But when there are houses that are still empty and a lot of rubbish skips and tradesmen’s vans around the place, the last think we expected was an award for tidiness. We decided to enter the competition anyway and give it a go. But to win a best kept village award is something of a shock.”
Champion village overall - for the second year running and the fourth time in six years - was Blacko near Nelson. Mawdesley came second, Whitechapel was third and Chipping fifth. St Michael’s, another village badly-hit by the Christmas floods, came sixth.
Brindle near Chorley won the best kept small village category, ahead of Waddington, Goosnargh and Bilsborrow. Elswick topped the vote in the medium village section, beating Sabden and Ribchester.
Most improved large village went to Higher Adlington, while Hurst Green won most improved medium village, Clifton the most improved small village/hamlet and the award for the best first time entry went to Hurstwood.
Certificate of Merit winners included St Hilda’s Church in Bilsborrow in the places of worship category, Grimsargh village green in the public playing field/sports grounds class and Elswick for its children’s play area. Barton Grange Garden Centre at Bilsborrow won certificate for the industrial or commercial premises award.
Chipping Farm Shop won the shops section, Gibbon Bridge at Chipping took the hotel/guesthouse prize and and Bilsborrow the war memorial.