Rochdale in Bloom scoops prestigious gold at national RHS Britain in Bloom awards
Date published: 20 October 2018
The Rochdale in Bloom committee: Phil Massey, Councillor Billy Sheerin, Andrew Nutter, Paul Ellison
Months of hard work and preparation finally paid off as the Rochdale in Bloom committee scooped a prestigious gold award for their efforts at the national RHS Britain in Bloom awards in Belfast on Friday (19 October).
The well-deserved accolade comes after Rochdale was nominated last year to go forward as the Small City category representative for the main competition after winning a North West in Bloom 2017 gold award.
It was a very close contest for our picture-perfect town, which faced tough competition in the category from Shrewsbury, Derry and Durham.
Helping make the national dream come true were sponsors Marshalls and the scores of volunteers who gave their time preparing for the occasion: trimming, planting, mowing, weeding and tidying around the town so that it looked as pristine as could be before the big day.
During this summer’s heatwave, judges followed a rich and vibrant floral trail around our borough’s most scenic places, including Norden Jubilee Park, Rochdale AFC Wonderwall, Springhill Hospice, Castleton Railway Station, Castleton War Memorial, The Growth Project Rochdale, The Flying Horse Hotel, Rochdale Memorial Gardens and the latest instalment of the World War One garden outside the historic Town Hall.
Accepting the award were In Bloom’s Paul Ellison, Phil Massey and Karen Hayday, Deputy Mayor and Castleton councillor Billy Sheerin, Rochdale In Bloom’s ambassador, Andrew Nutter, joined by two hard-working members of the council’s Environmental Management team.
Roy Down, Chairman of Rochdale in Bloom said: “I am delighted with the result.
“The awards in Belfast are true recognition of many hours of hard work that has been done by countless volunteers and community groups, with the help of Rochdale Council Environmental Management since 2010.
“The chance to represent not only Rochdale, but the whole of the North West in the Small City category, is a reward for the sheer dedication shown by everyone concerned with Rochdale In Bloom. Hopefully, this level of recognition can be the catalyst for the future development of In Bloom in Rochdale.
“The last few years have seen an impressive partnership develop between volunteers, community groups and Rochdale Environmental Management. I would like to thank, on behalf of Rochdale In Bloom, the many unsung heroes from Environmental Management, who always 'go the extra mile' to make sure that Rochdale looks superb on judging day.”
Paul Ellison, Rochdale in Bloom vice chairman, said: “The RHS judges were overwhelmed by the fitting tribute to Castleton and loved the World War One pop-up garden, as well as all our other great features.
“This year has been bigger and better due to the massive sponsorship support from Marshalls PLC. We have reached new heights, especially showcasing this year at the RHS Tatton Park flower show, where we won gold and best in the blooming border category.
“Once again in 2018, the magnificent efforts of our volunteers have been matched by the input from sponsors and supporters. The whole In Bloom effort is based around a great relationship with Rochdale Council Environmental Management and the community groups. The efforts are consistently amazing.
“A big well done to everyone; this is a terrific result and I’m over the moon for everyone’s outstanding efforts this year to firmly put Rochdale on the horticultural map. Our thanks must go to the council’s Environmental Management team who have worked with us to make sure that the municipal areas of the route have been to a very high standard.
“However, the stars of the show have definitely been our community groups and volunteers.”
Now in its 54th year, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom is one of the most effective, and longest running, environmental competitions in the UK, which pits rural villages, urban corners and city centres against one another across a range of criteria that includes horticultural know-how, community engagement, efforts to bolster biodiversity and climate change adaptation.
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