I HAVE just discovered the jewel in the Cotswolds crown.

It is Wotton-under-Edge!

Needing to broaden my base for writing this column, I readily accepted an invitation to visit the town.

What a host Martin was. He had arranged for me to talk to some of the people who make Wotton a place that bucks the current trend.

There is no doom and gloom in the High Street. It is full of individual shops, run by local people selling local produce.

Yes, there is a small Tesco and a branch of the Co-op and happily Lloyds Bank remains but the driving force of the town's commercial life are its own people.

They have a simple philosophy, give good service. This burst through every conversation I had. A late night shopping evening is planned which is to be widely supported by so many traders and excitement was everywhere.

Some shops make their own products and high skill was evident everywhere, no more so than at Clarendon Printing where 'Pete the Print' loves his job and is rightly proud of what his workshops produce.

Another column will follow shortly concerning a visit Mrs Light and I are soon to make with Christmas very much in mind.

Impressive as the commercial life of the town is community activities take pride of place. People in Wotton do not sit back and wait for things to happen they take the initiative.

Paul Comer of Wotton Lions introduced me to the defib campaign. The Lions started it with the first one and now the town has perhaps more defibs per capita than anywhere else in the country. Wotton in Bloom, just out of the starting blocks has just won a silver gilt medal. Wotton Community Parc has raised cash for a grass rugby pitch, two all-weather pitches, a skate park, two BMX tracks and a car park.

Well done, independent charity Wotton Community Sports Foundation. Activities and courses abound at the Under the Edge Arts Centre and the Craft Shop while the Electric Cinema is a delight with 100 comfy seats, a bar and a wide ranging programme. My last stop was at St Mary’s Church where the whole community has produced poppies to cover the Bell Tower.

My visit had started in the Museum and Heritage Centre which splendidly conveys the town's past. Every step I took conveyed its joyous present and fine future. What a place to live! Thank you very much host Martin Clarke. Your faith and pride in your town is totally justified.