Britain in Bloom Judges back in town
The sun shone, the streets sparkled and everywhere the flowerbeds were looking fabulous. That's what greeted the 2016 Royal Horticultural Society judges who were in town on Monday, 15 August as Harrogate is once again representing Yorkshire in the annual Britain in Bloom awards which it first won in 1976.
Last summer 72 locations were selected to represent their region in these finals, each hoping to score top marks and be announced category winner at an awards ceremony in Birmingham on 14 October. Harrogate will be competing against Canterbury, Colchester, Derry, Exeter, Loughborough and Rugby.
Harrogate has won many In Bloom titles since 1976 but highlights include twice taking Gold in Entente Florale (Europe in Bloom), receiving special awards for Tourism and having the Valley Gardens chosen as Best Public Park.
Summer months are always busy but Harrogate was ready to wow the judges - although it isn't just about what they saw on the day.
Pam Grant, President of Harrogate in Bloom, said: "As part of the judging, Team Harrogate supported by Harrogate Borough Council has to produce a detailed portfolio to demonstrate that our activities all year round take on board the things the RHS expects to see in a town worthy of winning Britain in Bloom.
"Team Harrogate is made up of all the voluntary groups in Harrogate that work to promote horticultural excellence, take environmental responsibility and aim to build local communities. Those are the three main judging criteria and it makes sense for us to enter national and regional competitions under the umbrella of Team Harrogate. However, that doesn't stop member groups from entering other appropriate categories in their own name.
"The council does an amazing job but as we review the year we never cease to be amazed at how much is also being done by the volunteers who represent Team Harrogate. The judges had limited time in town but they were taken to many of those groups to see activities that involve young and old, the fit and not so fit, the skilled and those just learning, all working with the single aim of making Harrogate special for everyone."
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: "Britain in Bloom is a real movement for good that is transforming neighbourhoods, creating communities and bringing the many health and wellbeing benefits of gardening to increasing numbers of people from every walk of life.
"The RHS Britain in Bloom finals are an opportunity to celebrate the tens of thousands of often unheralded volunteers who readily give up their time to improve their local environment. My fellow judges and I are immensely proud to be able to see the fruits of their labour and celebrate the work they do."
Harrogate has never looked better and a lovely summer day certainly added a little bit of 'gold' dust on judging day.
Media contact: Lynne Mee 07702 313776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of Team Harrogate:
Harrogate in Bloom
Harrogate Borough Council
Pinewoods Conservation Group
Harrogate District Biodiversity Action Group
North of England Horticultural Society (Harrogate Flower Shows)
Harrogate and District Allotments' Federation
Bilton Conservation Group
Harrogate Civic Society
Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce
Rossett Nature Reserve
Woodfield Millennium Green
Hookstone and Stonefall Action Group
Bachelor Fields Friends' Group
Friends of Valley Gardens
Woodlands Community Group