Harrogate wins gold at Britain in Bloom 2014

Flowers on Montpellier Hill. Image by Adrian Murray

Flowers on Montpellier Hill. Image by Adrian Murray

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Harrogate has won gold in the Small City category of RHS Britain in Bloom 2014.

The town was awarded at a ceremony in Bristol on Thursday night.

Valley Gardens

Valley Gardens

Commenting on Harrogate in Bloom’s efforts, RHS Judges said: “Harrogate had worldwide coverage this year with the Tour de France.

“People flocked in their tens of thousands to enjoy the spectacle of the race and will have left with a sense of what Harrogate has to offer.

“Tourism is Harrogate’s main industry and this is recognised by the local council and the Bloom committee with the high standard of horticultural features around the town always looking at their best – which ensures that the tourists will keep arriving for years to come.”

RHS Ambassador Adam Frost, who has won six Gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and started his career in a local authority parks department, hosted the annual ceremony, attended by almost 400 community gardening champions.

Adam said: “In my early career I was involved in Britain in Bloom and in April this year I helped launch the 50th anniversary of this fantastic campaign.

“So, I know all about the amazing work that the thousands of Bloom volunteers up and down the country do on a daily basis.

“It’s such an honour to be asked to present the awards to those who have made it to the national finals – they are all inspirational people.”

There are more than 3,900 Bloom groups throughout Britain.

Of these, just 71 finalists were chosen to represent their Region or Nation in the UK Finals.

Harrogate is representing Yorkshire.

In July / August, the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, led by Roger Burnett toured the UK.

This year for one year only Jim Buttress, BBC Great Allotment Challenge Judge and former head judge of RHS Britain in Bloom returned to the panel. They met community representatives of each finalist and visited local projects assessing against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

The RHS Britain in Bloom awards are a chance to celebrate the work of dedicated volunteers across the UK, of which there are up to 300,000, and to recognise achievement, innovation and a commitment to keeping our villages, towns and cities clean, green and thriving.

Bloom volunteers collectively invest nearly 11 million hours every year into local Bloom activities, which equates to almost £70 million at the National Minimum Wage. It is hoped that the transformation of community spaces championed at the RHS Britain in Bloom awards ceremony will encourage even more people to get involved and help continue to make a positive difference over the next 50 years.

A number of discretionary awards were also given to communities and individuals who demonstrated excellence in a particular area of the campaign. These included awards for young people’s involvement, environmental sustainability and community-wide participation, amongst others.

Harrogate’s Chris Beard received the RHS Britain in Bloom Community Champion award for his exceptional commitment and dedication to the RHS Britain in Bloom cause.

More to follow