RESIDENTS of a tiny Scottish village were celebrating yesterday after being voted the friendliest community in Britain.
In a nationwide competition, locals from Gateside in Fife, which has a miniscule population of 200 people, were commended for lending their teenagers out as babysitters, sharing baby clothes and running a free taxi service for locals.
Tesco Magazine, which ran the contest and paid out £5,000 to the local residents, shortlisted the village because of its “outstanding acts of kindness and community spirit”.
A spokeswoman added: “They made the shortlist because everyone in the street shares their skills, from maths tutoring to bike repairs. Even the teens get involved by baby-sitting.”
Gateside was the only Scottish village to be short-listed in the competition and made the list after local residents shared their skills, giving each other free services including maths tutoring, gardening and bike repairs.
Hannah Phillips, 35, is a member of Gateside and District Community Association and entered the village in the Tesco competition.
In her entry, she said: “The people of Gateside have always been good at recommending people and skills to each other – one husband is an electrician, another, an expert on trees.
“Between us, we know someone who can fix it, lend it or get it! We lend out teenagers for babysitting and pass on our children’s outgrown clothes to the neighbours.
“It’s not only our skills that we share – it’s our stuff. Once we spontaneously collected a group to dig up an enormous climbing frame and carry it half a mile down the road to another garden where younger children were more in need of it.
“When there are bigger jobs to do, we can rely on a community that will pull together.”
Other locals were quick to agree on the Tesco website.
Edy Petrie said: “I have lived in Gateside for 13 years and it is a wonderful little community where people look out for each other…just a great place to live.”
Kathryn Wright agreed: “I absolutely love living here and refuse to move anywhere else. There is always someone to stop and talk to and it’s a great feeling to know that you are contributing to a strong, warm and genuine community spirit. Needless to say, Gateside’s great.”
The community will receive a £5,000 prize from the supermarket and Hannah Phillips is thrilled that her entry has won them the money.
“I honestly didn’t expect us to win because Gateside is just a wee village,” she said.
“Not many people outside of Fife have perhaps even heard of it but it is a wonderful place to live and it full of generous people who would do anything for anyone so it definitely does deserve the title.”
Councillor Andy Heer was quick to congratulate the village.
He said:“It’s entirely deserved as the community spirit in Gateside is second to none and sets an example to us all.
“Congratulations much go to Hannah Phillips, who entered Gateside into the competition and all the other villagers who make Gateside such a good place to live.”
The small village of Gateside was the only Scottish village that made the shortlist of six candidates and won the competition with 32% of the public votes.
They fought off stiff competition from five other English villages- Rockingham Drive in Wigan, Stafford Road in Kent, Thornton Le Street in N.Yorkshire , Ashby De La Launde’s Main Street in Lincolnshire and Railway Terrace in Tyne and Wear.
Hannah Phillips, the Gateside resident who entered her village into the competition, signed off her contest submission with one powerful surming statement.
It read: “Our grandest plan of all? To make everyone welcome, to share our lunch together and to enjoy each other’s company. That’s what Gateside is all about. We are much more than just neighbours!”
Residents were keen to show their support for their humble home town and left endearing comments on the Tesco website page.
Kathryn Wright said: “I absolutely love living here, and refuse to move anywhere else. There is always someone to stop and talk to, and it’s a great feeling to know that you are contributing to a strong, warm and genuine community spirit…needless to say, Gateside’s great.”
Another resident called Kent said: “I have lived in many places, some bigger, some smaller, and I have yet to find a friendlier, more community spirited place as Gateside.”