Shropshire towns strike gold again in Heart of England in Bloom awards
It's a clean sweep - Shropshire towns took gold, gold, gold in the annual Heart of England in Bloom awards.
Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Newport all impressed the judges and took the top titles in their categories.
At a ceremony held in Rugby yesterday representatives from the four towns were handed their awards.
And judges praised the horticultural teams for their hard work in turning their towns in to an oasis of colour for the summer months.
Special praise went to two of the maintenance team from Shrewsbury Town Council for their work in the town's castle grounds who received the Heart of England in Bloom Grounds Maintenance Award
Workers and volunteers spent hundreds of hours carefully tending gardens, parks and planters around the county to ensure they were in tip-top condition for when the judges visited earlier this summer.
Oswestry in Bloom member and town councillor, Peter Cherrington, said he was absolutely delighted with the gold.
"This is the 15th year that Oswestry has won gold in the large town category. You have to remember that Oswestry is one of the smaller large towns and so this is a really coup for us to continue our golden success.
"Credit must go to the members of the Oswestry In Bloom committee who work so hard throughout the year.
"But we must also give our grateful thanks to the council staff who ensure the beautiful hanging baskets and planters are watered and to all the residents and businesses to make such an effort to make the town a beautiful place."
Shrewsbury won gold in the small city category. Councillor Keith Roberts, chairman of the Shrewsbury in Bloom committee, said he was delighted with the results, especially considering this year’s challenging weather conditions: “We have had a combination of floods and drought to deal with this summer and with these difficult conditions, we are extremely proud to have achieved Gold standard again.
“Shrewsbury in Bloom isn’t just about flowers and it was important to show the judges that the whole community gets involved in the Bloom ethos."
Helen Ball, town clerk, added: “It is testament to the hard work by so many people here in Shrewsbury that we have maintained our standards with this award. I would like to thank everyone who has helped us achieve Gold again this year in what have been testing conditions.
“We have seen a great collaborative effort from not only Shrewsbury Town Council and our partners at Shropshire Council, but also from the many businesses that sponsor the traffic islands and the Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) who have helped in supporting us with organising the purchase of hundreds of hanging baskets.
“The Bloom campaign is all about how the community comes together and we can see the civic pride in our town, which I think we have been able to demonstrate to the judges this year and this Gold and Small City category awards reflects that.”
Newport was named the winner of the town category. Councillor Tim Nelson who has worked with the Newport in Bloom committee was delighted with the win and said it was testament to their hard work.
"It is brilliant news," he said. "The volunteers have put in hours of hard work year round and that was recognised by the judges. I hope this bodes well for the national competition. I am so happy for the committee - they deserve this. Their work has really made people proud of Newport."
And Ludlow was also a gold winner. Ludlow town clerk Gina Wilding said the award recognised the hard work and dedication of all the Ludlow in Bloom committee members. "It is a fantastic community effort and a huge commitment. ," she added. "We are delighted that Ludlow in Bloom have won this award for yet another year. The committee do an amazing job and each year they add that little bit extra which makes them stand out from the rest. We give the committee money each year and we also give them access to our labour force who carry out regular work."
Roger Bache, chair of Heart of England in Bloom, said: "I went to Newport and it was fabulous. Everybody in the region did very very well. I have been at it a long time and it was great to see that people have listened to what we have to say and did what they do so well." He added that despite a damp summer, the planting had not been affected and the flowers were in spectacular form.