TWO groups from Whitchurch and Overton have been recognised as finalists in this year’s Countryside Awards.

Countryside protection organisation, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire has shortlisted 19 contenders from the county, in the awards which recognise the hard work and dedication of those working to protect the countryside.

Walkers are Welcome Whitchurch and Overton Walking for Health are both competing in the Community and Voluntary category, with the public now encouraged to vote for their favourites.

CPRE Hampshire chief executive Charlee Bennett said: “We have been inundated this year with some fantastic contributions.

“It is heartening to see just some of the amazing and diverse work being done to protect and enhance the countryside by local groups and organisations.

“The judges have been so impressed by our finalists this year – and I know the judges are going to struggle to choose the winners.”

In the Community and Voluntary category sponsored by Southern Co-operative, Overton Walkers for Health was nominated for its work improving accessibility to sites in the village.

Walkers are Welcome Whitchurch was chosen for its work for the future care and preservation of the countryside and the future prosperity of Whitchurch, as well as aiming to have some of the best footpaths in north Hampshire.

Group co-ordinator Jackie Browne said members were “delighted” with the news.

She added: “We would like to thank all those that have volunteered their time and to ask you and our friends nationally to please get voting.”

The groups are up against Friends of Lepe, Petersfield Community Trees and Sparsholt Village Shop Association and Post Office.

Voting is open until August 31.To vote go to