When Anna Davies bought a seaside shack to bring some joy to her children's lives, she never thought that one day it would be crowned as Beach Hut of the Year.
After a family tragedy forced Anna to move to Harwich as a single mother, her inspirational story captured the hearts of the panel of judges, who have crowned her pride and joy Beach Hut of the Year 2016.
One of the judges, Location, Location, Location's Phil Spencer, travelled to Harwich on Friday to give Anna her award - a commemorative plaque, £1,000 and a year's beach hut insurance from Towergate Insurance, which organised the competition.
The local beach hut association in Harwich and Dovercourt also received £500.
But it wasn't just her story that earned her the title - the beach hut is a work of art both inside and out.
‘My Happy Hut', as the hut is called, is pale blue and red, with polka dots painted on features such as the double doors. The interior, although small, includes a kitchenette, sofa and table and chairs - what more could you want?
The front of the hut drops down like a drawbridge, creating a decked area - perfect for sunbathing on during the summer.
The hut clearly takes inspiration from its surroundings, with seaside pictures on the walls and a beach theme throughout.
Anna told The Mail: ‘I love the beach hut community spirit and once a year we go on a Dovercourt beach hut crawl, enjoying food and drink at every hut we visit along the way.'
Speaking about the award, she said: 'I am genuinely shocked and excited that 'My Happy Hut'
has been crowned beach hut of the year!
‘This hut has been my salvation and continues to bring myself and my family joy every summer.'
But what was the competition like?
Other entrants included a hut in Mersea, Essex, which featured a mermaid on the wall, a boho-themed hut at Hove Esplanade, East Sussex and a map-inspired hut at Haylind Island, which had maps all over the ceiling.
Phil Spencer said: 'I think it gets tougher each year to select a winner as the standard of entries is truly incredible and we were spoilt for choice with an array of unique and fantastic designs.'
"My Happy Hut" was chosen for its delightful décor and for bringing joy, not only to Anna and her family, but to the beach hut community.'
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Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.
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