Harrogate wins Britain in Bloom

Members of Team Harrogate on judging day with RHS judges Nigel Bishop and Brendan Mowforth
Members of Team Harrogate on judging day with RHS judges Nigel Bishop and Brendan Mowforth

Harrogate is celebrating a gold medal in the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom awards, a competition that the town has previously won 11 times.

In previous years all In Bloom entries have been led by Harrogate in Bloom and Harrogate Borough Council, but recently judging has placed increasing emphasis on how well the community as a whole works together.

This year Harrogate entered as 'Team Harrogate', bringing together the council and 14 voluntary groups who are all involved in making the area better for everyone.

President of Harrogate in Bloom, Pam Grant, said: "We are over the moon to have won our category and to have done it with a gold medal is the icing on the cake. And the cherry on top is that Harrogate has been invited to enter 'Champion of Champions' in Britain in Bloom 2017. The invitation is to enable Harrogate to demonstrate to others examples of our 'best practice'."

Harrogate has won every major In Bloom competition since the regional, national and international awards began in 1975. As well as a dozen Britain in Bloom titles, Harrogate has won the annual Yorkshire in Bloom awards 33 times.

Pam added: "The few times we didn't win the regional award was when we chose not to enter because we were concentrating effort on the Britain in Bloom awards or the International 'Entente Florale' in which we twice won a gold medal - the only town ever to do that. We have also won discretionary awards for tourism and best public park for the Valley Gardens.

"Harrogate justly deserves this high recognition for its floral and environmental achievements which add value to all areas of our town. This isn't just for residents but for businesses too, particularly everything linked to tourism. I think Harrogate is unrivalled but this doesn't just happen. As well as an excellent council Parks and Environmental Services Team, we couldn't do it without some very dedicated volunteers. I think the challenge now is to improve the marketing of our achievements and we will be speaking to the council, Visit Harrogate, Welcome to Yorkshire, and the Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce."

The organisations included in Team Harrogate are: 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, Horticap, Rossett Nature Reserve, Woodfield Millennium Green (Millie's Green), Hookstone and Stonefall Action Group, Bachelor Field Friends' Group, and Woodlands Community Group.