Town celebrates its award-winning shops

From left: Caroline Ridlington (Just for Gents), Liz Hannibal (Manager Boots the Chemist), Peter Fowler (Loco Shop), Mary Reeve (Paper Shop), Alison Sanderson (Boots the Chemist), Kaye Lee (Post Office) and Coun Martin Sizer (Post Office).
From left: Caroline Ridlington (Just for Gents), Liz Hannibal (Manager Boots the Chemist), Peter Fowler (Loco Shop), Mary Reeve (Paper Shop), Alison Sanderson (Boots the Chemist), Kaye Lee (Post Office) and Coun Martin Sizer (Post Office).

Caistor has scooped a prize for its top shops at this year’s Best Kept contest - but missed out on best town for the first time in three years.

Traders across the county went head to head to win the new shops category in the Lincolnshire Best Kept Villages and Small Towns competition - but they could not compete with Caistor, which walked away with a £200 voucher for floral displays.

The category, added to celebrate the competition’s 50th anniversary, judged traders on things such as tidy shop fronts with up to date information about community events.

But the town - which has won the top prize in the Small Market Towns class for the past three years - came second to Crowland, which last won in 1980.

This category looked at things like green spaces, community buildings and good environmental practice.

Town clerk Helen Pitman said: “Obviously we would have loved to have come first and carried on the tradition we’ve had over the last three years, but it’s nice to see someone coming through.”

But shops in the town were thrilled. Mary Reeve, who runs The Paper Shop, said: “It’s going to be good for the town.”

Caistor postmaster Martin Sizer said: “It’s fantastic. There’s a great community spirit in Caistor, which makes a really nice place to live.”

Partner at The Settlement restaurant, David Kelly, said: “It’s fantastic for the area. The amount of faith and investment the council has put in, it’s amazing.

“This can only be good for business and attracting people to the area. It will make people more aware of Caistor and what if has to offer.”

And councillors were equally pleased. Coun Alan Caine, for West Lindsey District Council and Caistor Town Council, said: “It’s brilliant. We entered the competition and we’ve gone from strength to strength.

“It’s a community effort, right the way across the community.”

Lincolnshire County councillor for Caistor Tony Turner said: “Congratulations to everyone. It goes from strength to strength. There’s so much support among residents – it’s a credit to everyone.”

Competition organiser Teresa Palmer said: “Lincolnshire has some of the most proactive community members in the country.”