Coniston was the most beautiful village in Cumbria in 2003.

It was so bursting with colour that Cumbria in Bloom judges had named the tourist hotspot large village of the year.

Judges were particularly impressed with Coniston’s hanging baskets and the pubs’ window boxes.

The Coniston in Bloom Group, local green-fingered volunteers, had been working tirelessly to transform the village.

A recycling scheme had been started and waste land was continuously transformed into gardens to improve landscaping.

The Orchard House Guest House at Yewdale Road and the fire station also won in their respective categories for the quality of their gardens.

A pioneering community group had taken over the task of running Coniston’s tourist information centre in 2006.

They hoped it would become a shop window for the village and provide an important service.

The community group had gained permission from the Lake District National Park Authority to run the centre, one of three closed by the authority.

Coniston TIC Ltd was a not-for-profit company made up of local business people, which aimed to meet the demands of 200,000 visitors a year.

Its chair was Philip Johnson, of the Coppermines and Lakes Cottages. He said the volunteers were making an outstanding contribution towards welcoming visitors opt the village and the area as whole.

Also in 2006, television cameras were set to capture community life in Coniston.

A film crew was going to make a documentary for Channel 4 showing the interactive social life in the village.

Spare Time was being filmed in June for screening during the summer.

Coniston councillor Anne Hall said: “Channel 4 was looking for a village where community life was still very much interactive and they came to Coniston and were impressed with what they saw.”

In 2009 Italian dignitaries from Solto Collina were heading to Coniston to formally link the two locations.

The picturesque town, near Lake Garda, would become the second twinning for Coniston - which had been bound with Illiers-Combray in France for the previous 12 years.