Knaresborough has scooped Gold in the Large Town category at the 2015 Britain in Bloom UK Final awards, Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
The awards ceremony was held in Sunderland on Friday (16 October 2015). There are more than 3,900 Bloom groups throughout Britain and of these just 70 finalists were chosen to represent their Region or Nation in the UK Finals.
The RHS Britain in Bloom awards ceremony is a chance to celebrate the work carried out by dedicated volunteers. It recognises excellence, innovation and a commitment to keeping the UK’s villages, towns and cities clean, green and beautiful.
The RHS Britain in Bloom panel, headed by Roger Burnett, met with representatives of each of the 70 finalists throughout the summer to assess their campaigns against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility. The judges visited Knaresborough in August.
In their report on Knaresborough in Bloom, the RHS Judges said:
The town square and Castle Street were particularly attractive, and it was good to see businesses supporting your campaign, making the town a tourist haven.
The judges also noted that “it was evident that the group are able to take on difficult areas and regenerate them”, and they commended the group for the more unusual aspects of their visit, which included “our first viewing of the elusive great crested newt.”
The work of Bloom groups across the country supplements public services with almost 300,000 volunteers donating up to 10.9 million hours a year, equivalent to almost £70 million at the National Minimum Wage. They also help to turn grey areas of Britain green and enrich people’s life through plants.
Councillor Michael Harrison, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:
I would like to congratulate everyone involved for their sterling efforts – this Gold award recognises an outstanding achievement.
Such success is only possible by the hard work of all parts of the community – schools, businesses, community groups and the council’s parks team, all of them committed to making Knaresborough’s gardens and open spaces a delight to visit.
Christine Willoughby is the chair of Knaresborough in Bloom. She said:
It was wonderful to attend the finalists awards evening in Sunderland on Friday last. It makes you realise what a tremendous honour it is even to be chosen as a finalist and when the result was announced I was almost speechless.
I would like to thank the Knaresborough businesses and organisations who have helped us with sponsorship this year. We are a small dedicated band of enthusiastic people who work tremendously hard to achieve a very impressive result. Despite the difficult weather, the town has really looked great this summer, thanks to the efforts of the Knaresborough in Bloom volunteers and the efforts of the Harrogate Borough Council gardeners.