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National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Date published: 09 August 2018


This year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain In Bloom competition came to Rochdale on Thursday (9 August) to judge the visual presentation and efforts of Rochdale in Bloom.

Jubilee Park, Norden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Jubilee Park, Norden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Rochdale has achieved gold medal status for the last two years at the regional awards and in November 2017, it was announced at the regional finals that Rochdale would represent the North West nationally in the 'Small City' category.

Denehurst Park - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Denehurst Park - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Unlike the regional competition, where individual entries and features are judged, the national judging route is a ‘snapshot’ of the whole town in bloom.

Denehurst Park - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Denehurst Park - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Denehurst Park - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Denehurst Park - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale AFC Wonderwall - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale AFC Wonderwall - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale AFC Wonderwall - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale AFC Wonderwall - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Castleton Station - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Castleton Station - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

The judges – from Yorkshire, Shropshire and London - started their journey of horticultural highlights at Nutters Restaurant before being guided around Rochdale's spectacular floral locations. These locations included Norden Jubilee Park, Denehurst Park, Rochdale AFC’s Wonderwall, Springhill Hospice, Castleton Railway Station, Castleton War Memorial and The Growth Project, which aims to support mental health through gardening.

The judges at Nutters Restaurant
The judges at Nutters Restaurant
Castleton Station - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Castleton Station - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

 

Castleton Station - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Castleton Station - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Castleton - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Castleton - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Springhill Hospice raised garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Springhill Hospice raised garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Springhill Hospice garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Springhill Hospice garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
The Growth Project - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
The Growth Project - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
The Growth Project - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
The Growth Project - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

The judges finished their route in the town centre where they observed the floral displays at The Flying Horse Hotel, Rochdale Memorial gardens and witnessed the remarkable WW1 pop-up garden on Gracie Island.

Rochdale Memorial Garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale Memorial Garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Mayor of Rochdale, Mohammed Zaman, greeted the judges at the town hall before welcoming them onto the balcony, where they caught an aerial view of the town in full bloom.

Rochdale Memorial Pop-up Garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale Memorial Pop-up Garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Along the way, judges met members of the public who volunteer as well as school children and business owners who all demonstrated how they are working to make the Rochdale borough greener and all-round more pleasant.

Rochdale Memorial Pop-up Garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Rochdale Memorial Pop-up Garden - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Among the ever-increasing number of volunteers in Rochdale, this year they have come from every corner of the borough with representatives from four-years-old to 94-years-old.

Mayor Mohammed Zaman with the judges in Rochdale - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom
Mayor Mohammed Zaman with the judges in Rochdale - National judging day as Rochdale represents North West in Britain in Bloom

Paul Ellison, member of the In Bloom committee, said: “We’re going for gold. It's been a very busy week with trimming, mowing, weeding and generally tidying up to impress the judges.

“It's Rochdale's first time in the nationals, so realistically a silver gilt would be excellent, as there's some stiff competition throughout the UK. This year has been bigger and better due to the massive sponsorship support from Marshalls PLC, allowing us to reach new heights, especially showcasing this year at the RHS Tatton Park flower show.

“Many thanks to Marshalls for their generous sponsorship this year, Rochdale Borough Council for their overwhelming input, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing for their involvement, Activate for providing the transport and Rochdale Online for joining our group on the day.

“Let's keep Rochdale In Bloom.”

Roy Down, vice chairman of Rochdale in Bloom, said: “I think this year's effort from all the volunteers and Environmental Management teams has been unsurpassed. Everyone has stepped up, ready for National judging day.

“Despite the hot, dry weather, the level of maintenance on baskets, planters, borders, parks and allotments has been fantastic.

“We hope we do Rochdale and the North West proud. Everyone involved has given 100%.

“A special thank you goes to my fellow In Bloom team members - their ongoing enthusiasm is amazing."

Finishing the day with a speech in the Great Hall of RochdaleTown Hall, on behalf of all the judges, one of the judges said: “This town has shown us some really good stuff today. We can see there is a lot of pride, a lot of passion and a lot of self-belief.

“I can’t believe Rochdale haven’t been nominated for the nationals before now.

“It’s nice to see the town coming along and developing. What we have seen has been incredible and truly beautiful.

“Congratulations to all for putting on a good show.”

This year Rochdale in Bloom has taken inspiration from the First World War, to mark its centenary and honour the 16 million people who died in the conflict.

Poppies, the nation’s symbol of remembrance, have been placed on lampposts across the borough, along with silent soldier silhouettes at memorials and planting schemes that are symbolic of the time.

Poppies, the nation’s symbol of remembrance, have been placed on lampposts across the borough, along with silent soldier silhouettes at memorials and planting schemes that are symbolic of the time.
Poppies, the nation’s symbol of remembrance, have been placed on lampposts across the borough

The national results will be announced at the RHS Britain in Bloom awards ceremony on 19 October in Belfast.

Silent soldier silhouettes at memorials and planting schemes
Silent soldier silhouettes at memorials and planting schemes

 


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