WIMBORNE residents have been left furious by an article in a national newspaper that condemns the town as “not the prettiest”.

The article, which appeared in the Daily Mail on Valentine’s Day, had been written about statistics showing Wimborne has the highest number of married people in England and Wales.

Locals from the town were shocked by reporter Steve Doughty’s opening sentence: “It is not the prettiest of towns nor the wealthiest, but it does seem to possess the secret to a successful marriage.”

However, the social affairs correspondent then goes on to say: “This rural idyll is an exceptionally attractive place to live because of its romantic landscape.”

Former mayor and Wimborne in Bloom chairman Anthony Oliver said: “It is very frustrating, as it seems the person who wrote the article hasn’t actually been to see the town for themselves.

“It’s a wonderful and very beautiful town.”

He added: “I don’t know how he came to this conclusion.

“It’s a lovely town set in the midst of beautiful countryside, yet close to the sea. Statistically, Wimborne Minster is also where people live longer, probably because the pace of life is slower, folks are happier and there’s a great community spirit. People are so nice and have got time for each other to stop for a chat.”

Chairman of Wimborne Minster Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Eileen Worth, said locals are proud of the historic town.

“It’s a delight to walk round our amazing selection of shops, restaurants and pretty green places,” she said.

“Plus there’s always something going on, such as our internationally renowned folk festival, our food festivals and other outdoor events. And that’s apart from other venues such as our famous Model Town, Tivoli Theatre, our museum, market and our wonderful community centre.”

The town became a business improvement district (BID) in 2011.

The director of the group, Martin Tidd, said he was astonished by Mr Doughty’s report.

“I, along with a lot of other people in the town, felt angry as we see it as an untruth,” he said.

“As residents and business people in the town, we might be biased, but it’s one of the most desirable places to live in Dorset, probably because it offers the perfect balance of commercial activity and communal charm.”