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Revealed: The most active town in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 17:21 16 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:21 16 March 2016

Jill Kent and Tracey Tompkins from Mendham; Mark Cordell from Bury and  Jan McLardy and Catherine Clark from Hundon

Jill Kent and Tracey Tompkins from Mendham; Mark Cordell from Bury and Jan McLardy and Catherine Clark from Hundon

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Bury St Edmunds can proudly claim to be the most active town in Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council chairman Jane Storey, left, and cllr Tony Goldson, right, with Jill Kent and Tracey Tompkins from Mendham; Mark Cordell from Bury and Jan McLardy and Catherine Clark from Hundon Suffolk County Council chairman Jane Storey, left, and cllr Tony Goldson, right, with Jill Kent and Tracey Tompkins from Mendham; Mark Cordell from Bury and Jan McLardy and Catherine Clark from Hundon

Knocking Kesgrave off the top spot at Suffolk County Council’s most active community town and village competition, Bury pushed the reigning champions into second place on Monday.

With Bury’s Festival of Sport and the temporary ice rink as key examples, it was decided the town’s sporting ethos as well as its encouragement of residents to be active meant it was a deserved winner.

Ourburystedmunds chief executive Mark Cordell entered Bury for the award but did not know until Monday evening that it had triumphed.

Speaking immediately afterwards, he said: “It’s a lovely feeling to think the work of so many people in the town, many of whom provide such a wide variety of activities and sports for Bury, has been formally recognised by the county council by winning this prestigious award.”

In its nomination, Bury’s numerous sport clubs, including football, cricket, cycling, athletics, rugby and American Football, were all mentioned, as well as the leisure centre and its volunteer-led parkrun.

The town is also home to Suffolk’s only Tchoukball club, a relatively new sport described by participants as a combination of handball and volleyball and the “fastest handball sport in the world today”.

“Two walking initiatives were promoted in the town, along with the nine-day Festival of Sport in September,” added Mr Cordell’s nomination. “The town’s first real ice-skating rink went to Bury in December 2015 and West Suffolk College received Sport England funding for a college sports maker and sports activator.”

The town also hosts a number of disability sports clubs and there are mental health and physical activity projects taking place along with cycle and walking events.

As well as knocking holders Kesgrave into second place, Bury also finished above Newmarket, which was highly commended.

Mr Cordell said it was important to keep active, adding: “The big picture is it reduces demands on the health service but it’s really just about encouraging people to be active and healthy.”

West Suffolk performed strongly across the board in the two other categories – large village and small village.

Hundon triumphed in the former, with it able to boast a floodlit artificial grass area, a women’s fit camp aimed at young mums and a fun bowls session, which was described in its nomination as “great for the older generation”.

Other activities in the village include tai chi, pilates and indoor bowls.

Hundon’s victory saw it push Long Melford into second place, the latter boasting everything from baby ballet and zumba to active scouts, brownies and guides.

East Bergholt was highly commended.

Mendham, near Bungay, came first in the small village category, with Freckenham, near Mildenhall, in second place and Occold, near Diss, highly commended.

Suffolk County Council said it was “particularly impressed” with how communities were motivating residents to take part in physical activity and sport.

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