A PARISH is urging residents to brush up their village after being shortlisted in a regional competition.

Bicknacre has been shortlisted for the Rural Community Council of Essex’s Village of the Year award.

Woodham Ferrers and Bicknacre parish council are asking the public to keep things tidy when judges visit on May 21.

A parish spokesman said: “Please help us by picking up any litter, reporting any overhanging hedges, dirty signage or anything you think can be improved visually.

“This would be amazing for Bicknacre to get a place in the top three.”

This popular annual competition is run with support from Essex and Suffolk Water and Inkpen Downie Architecture & Design.

It focusses on the efforts local people are making to strengthen and sustain rural community life.

Rural council director Nick Shuttleworth said: “Throughout Essex, villages of all sizes provide a range of clubs, events and activities for all sections of the community.

“Many are working hard to safeguard key services, improve amenities such as village halls and reduce loneliness and social isolation.

“Essex Village of the Year is all about rewarding and celebrating such community initiative and enterprise.

“It highlights the very best of rural Essex.”

The winners will be announced at RCCE’s annual general meeting on July 10.

For details, email clerk@wfandbpc.org.uk.