Blooming marvellous! Top marks for towns and villages
Blooming floral displays in the Westcountry have been recognised at a top national awards ceremony.
Five towns and villages across the South West enjoyed a catalogue of success at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom national awards for 2012.
Three of the region's big winners were from Cornwall. Truro won a gold award in the large town category, and Newquay and St Issey scooped silver gilts in the town and village category respectively. The Cornish seaside resort was also presented with the RHS Commercial Award.
Elsewhere in Devon and Somerset, Sidmouth was awarded silver in the coastal over 12k category, while Taunton was given silver gilt in the small city category. It was also presented with an RHS community champion award.
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Brenda Wright, chairman of St Issey in Bloom, said: "Being invited to take part in this year's RHS Britain in Bloom was a fantastic complement to us, as we are only just two years old. We had a wonderful day when the judges came to visit. We were very nervous and excited, but the judges soon put us at our ease, and we all enjoyed the day, as well as learning a lot."
RHS Judge, Brendan Mowforth, said of Truro: "The County Town of Cornwall was shown off to great effect on the judging tour, with many examples of good community engagement and a real vibrancy and enthusiasm evident from everyone met, whether part of the Bloom or just local residents or passing visitors. Colourful floral features, attractive parks and green spaces and most of all the positivity of everyone left a lasting effect on the judges."
The awards ceremony held in St Peter Port, Guernsey, was hosted by Matt Baker, presenter of BBC TV's The One Show and attended by 450 community gardening champions. More than 1,200 UK communities from big cities to small villages participate each year in the RHS campaign to green-up and clean-up Britain. Of these, just 72 were chosen to represent their region or area in the UK finals.
Chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK judging panel, Roger Burnett, led a team of 14 volunteer judges who toured the UK in July and August, visiting each finalist.
They marked against three key criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
Mr Burnett said: "We had the privilege and pleasure of visiting the most environmentally aware communities in Britain and meeting the wonderful people responsible for them."