East Budleigh graveyard crowned Devon's best
PUBLISHED: 10:55 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 27 September 2019
East Budleigh has taken the crown of possessing Devon's best graveyard, after it finished as runner-up last year,
All Saints put itself forward for a competition launched by the Devon branch of The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to celebrate the role churches play in communities across Devon.
East Budleigh was announced as the 2019 winner at a prize-giving reception at Exeter Cathedral on Wednesday (September 25), attended by more than 70 guests.
Ilfracombe and Molland were named joint runners-up, while Kingsbridge, Dalwood and Littleham, near Exmouth, were highly commended.
Paul and Penny Kurowski collected East Budleigh's award on behalf of the volunteers who maintain the churchyard.
Mr Kurowski said: "We're absolutely gobsmacked. We really can't believe it.
"It's a mix of amazement and elation because we came second last year and we knew that many more churches had entered so we didn't expect to win.
"We came here to enjoy the afternoon tea really."
The couple praised the 'wonderful team of volunteers' to commit their time to keeping the churchyard up to standard.
CPRE Devon received a third more entries this year from all corners of the county and a diverse range of entrants from city, town and village communities, including one Methodist chapel and one cemetery.
CPRE Devon's director Penny Mills and trustee Ivan Buxton visited every churchyard that entered.
Mrs Mills said: "Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter our competition this year and congratulations to everyone who took part.
"The winning churchyards are delightful and it was a pleasure to visit them all.
"East Budleigh won this year because of all the work they had done since last year, including visiting some of the other churchyards to see what else they could do.
"It's a classic English churchyard with a lot going on, beautifully looked after by a team of dedicated volunteers who clearly take great pride in their role."
Mr Buxton added: "We were really impressed this year by all the initiatives put in place by churchyards to encourage wildlife and biodiversity, including lots of bug hotels, a minibeast trail, vegetable and herb gardens, wildlife spotting survey forms and the creation of wildflower meadows.
"It was very difficult to judge because all the churchyards do a great job looking after these ancient green places which are part of Devon's rich landscape."