Saturday 17 October 2015
Shropshire village awarded top accolade at national ceremony
Volunteers from Norton in Hales will be celebrating this morning after being named ‘Champion of Champions’ at last night’s Britain in Bloom with the RHS UK Finals Awards ceremony.
The annual event, which was held in Sunderland and hosted by TV presenter and gardening expert James Alexander-Sinclair, saw 70 finalists proudly flying the flag for their region/nation*, with Norton in Hales from the Heart of England and scooping the top award of the evening.
Britain in Bloom judges described Norton in Hales as ‘a beautiful picturesque rural village set in the Heart of England.” They went on to say that the village’s green spaces were of an excellent standard and the sheer variety of plants on display made a tremendous impact, particularly at the village green and sports field.
The group’s commitment to the environment and sustainability played a large part in their success, with innovative eco-ideas catching the eye of the judges. At the heart of the village’s extensive recycling network is a project called ‘ground to ground’ that sees coffee granules and bark mulch transformed into fertiliser and slug repellent.
The exceptional community spirit of Norton in Bloom volunteers was also highlighted by judges Martyn Hird and Kim Parish who said: “Norton in Hales has achieved exceptional marks in this section, reflecting the strong community involvement. They should be extremely proud because it really is the entire village that has won the title of Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions!”
Malcolm McDonald, Secretary for Norton in Bloom said: “For a small Shropshire village of only 300 people, this is an amazing achievement and reflects the hard work and commitment from the Bloom committee and its many helpers throughout the village. Norton was honoured to be invited to participate in this year’s Champion of Champions category, and as soon as this challenge was accepted, the committee started planning for success and many new horticultural initiatives were introduced as part of Norton in Bloom’s ‘Greener for Life’ campaign.
“The results on the judging day in August were stunning and comprised not only flowers that had been grown from seed by Bloom group members, but also recycled plants.”
The Britain in Bloom with the RHS awards ceremony is a celebration of the hard work carried out by dedicated volunteers. The event is designed to recognise their excellence, innovation and commitment to keeping the UK’s villages, towns and cities clean, green and beautiful.
The hard 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 £70million at the National Minimum Wage. They also help to turn grey areas of Britain green and enrich people’s life through plants.
The Britain in Bloom with the RHS judging panel, headed by Roger Burnett, met with representatives of each finalist throughout the summer to assess each of the 70 Bloom campaigns against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
RHS Head of Community Development, Andrea Van Sittart, said: “The annual Britain in Bloom with the RHS awards ceremony is a celebration of communities uniting across the UK to keep our streets clean, green and tidy, transforming whole areas and giving wildlife a helping hand along the way. Since it started over 50 years ago, Bloom has evolved into a national campaign which is constantly growing in impact around Britain, championing great community projects that really make a difference to people’s lives.
“Like Norton in Hales, the Bloom finalists represent how best to use public green space for the benefit of people, plants and the planet. It is our hope that more and more people will be inspired to set up or join their local Britain in Bloom with the RHS group so the impact of this transformative campaign will continue to grow.”
For more information on Britain in Bloom with the RHS, visit:
Notes to editors
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* Britain in Bloom with the RHS 2015 UK Final Awards:
ENTRY CATEGORY REGION / NATION AWARD
Ahoghill: Small Town, Ulster, Gold & Category Winner
Aldridge (Walsall): Urban Community, Heart of England, Silver Gilt
Antrim: Large Town, Ulster, Silver Gilt
Barnoldswick: Town, North West, Gold
Bath: Champion of Champion (Small City), South West, Gold
Biddulph: Large Town, Heart of England, Silver Gilt
Birmingham: Large City, Heart of England, Gold & Category Winner
Bury: Small City, North West, Gold & Category Winner
Caistor: Large Village, East Midlands, Silver Gilt
Claverley: Village, Heart of England, Gold
Cleethorpes: Coastal (over 12k), East Midlands, Gold & Category Winner
Colchester: Small City, Anglia, Silver Gilt
Corbridge: Small Town, Northumbria, Silver Gilt
Coupar Angus: Large Village, Scotland, Gold & Category Winner
Cranbrook: Small Town, South East, Silver Gilt
Croston: Large Village, North West, Silver Gilt
Cupar: Town, Scotland, Gold
Dalton with Newton: Town, Cumbria, Silver
Dartmouth: Coastal (up to 12k), South West, Gold
Derry City: Small City, Ulster, Silver Gilt
Didsbury (Manchester): Urban Community, North West, Silver Gilt
Dundee: City, Scotland, Silver Gilt & Category Winner
Durham: Large Town, Northumbria, Gold
Falmouth: Town, South West, Gold & Category Winner
Filby: Champion of Champion (Village), Anglia, Gold
Fordham: Village, Anglia, Silver
Glenarm: Village, Ulster, Silver Gilt
Great Yarmouth: Coastal (over 12k), Anglia, Gold
Grimsby: Small City, East Midlands, Silver Gilt
HEF Bristol (Greater Fishponds): Urban Community, South West, Silver
Henley on Thames: Town, Thames and Chiltern, Gold
Kingsbridge: Small Town, South West, Gold
Kirkcaldy: Small City, Scotland, Silver Gilt
Kirkoswald: Village, Cumbria, Silver Gilt
Knaresborough: Large Town, Yorkshire, Gold
Leeds: Large City, Yorkshire, Silver Gilt
Llandudno: Coastal (over 12k), Wales, Silver Gilt
London Borough of Hillingdon: Large City, London, Gold
London Bridge: Business Improvement District, London, Silver Gilt & Category Winner
Lytham: Coastal (up to 12k), North West, Gold
Mancroft, The Lanes (Norwich): Urban Community, Anglia, Silver
Market Bosworth: Champion of Champion (Large Village), East Midlands, Gold
Melton Mowbray BID: Business Improvement District, East Midlands, Silver
Muthill: Village, Scotland, Silver Gilt
North Berwick: Coastal (up to 12k), Scotland, Silver Gilt
Norton in Hales: Champion of Champion (Village), Heart of England, Gold & Category Winner
Norwich: City, Anglia, Silver Gilt
Oxford: City, Thames and Chiltern, Silver Gilt
Pembrey & Burry: Town, Wales, Silver
Reading: Business Improvement District, Thames and Chiltern, Silver
Scarva: Small Village, Northern Ireland, Silver Gilt
Scholes: Large Village, Yorkshire, Silver Gilt
Spofforth: Village, Yorkshire, Gold & Category Winner
St Brelade: Coastal (up to 12k), Jersey, Silver Gilt
St Helier: Large Town, Jersey, Gold & Category Winner
St Pierre du Bois: Coastal (up to 12k), Guernsey, Gold & Category Winner
Tewkesbury: Town, Heart of England, Silver Gilt
Tresco: Small Village, South West, Gold
Truro: Champion of Champion (Large Town), South West, Gold
Uddingston: Urban Community, Scotland, Silver Gilt
Uppingham: Small Town, East Midlands, Silver Gilt
Usk: Champion of Champion (Large Village), Wales, Gold
Ware: Large Town, Anglia, Silver Gilt
Washington: Village, Northumbria, Silver Gilt
Weston Super Mare: Small City, South West, Silver Gilt
Whalley: Small Town, North West, Silver Gilt
Whitby: Coastal (up to 12k), Yorkshire, Silver Gilt
Wimborne Minster: Small Town, Southern, Silver Gilt
Wolfscastle: Small Village, Wales, Gold & Category Winner
Woodlesford: Urban Community, Yorkshire, Gold & Category Winner
** Britain in Bloom with the RHS Discretionary Awards:
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Young People's Award Uddingston
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Young People's Award Cupar
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Conservation and Wildlife Award Fordham
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Environment Award Dundee (University of Dundee)
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Tourism Award Falmouth
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Heritage Award Derry City
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Sue Hacon, Great Yarmouth
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Diane Mansell, Aldridge
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Jonathan Davis, Woodlesford
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Bert & Cynthia Filer, Weston Super Mare
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Jo and Reg Chiddick - Friends of Norwich in Bloom
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Bill Ronald, Coupar Angus
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Bert Fallaize – St Pierre du Bois
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award John Stanley – Spofforth
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Councillor Di Bianco – Hillingdon
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Mrs Wendy Raymond – Wolfscastle
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Hannah Croskery – Dalton with Newton
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Jacqui Owen - Falmouth
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Alan & Helen Roberts - Biddulph
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Rod Parr - Claverley
Britain in Bloom with the RHS Community Champion Award Graham Bouchard - St Helier
Special Certificate Arthur Bowman, Kirkoswald
Britain in Bloom with the RHS
• UK’s biggest community gardening campaign involves up to 300,000 passionate local volunteers who work year-round to keep our neighbourhoods and streets green, clean and thriving.
• Bloom was started by the British Tourist Authority as a way to attract visitors to the UK through floral displays. In 2001, the RHS took over as organisers and have developed the campaign to include greater focus on community participation and environmental responsibility.
• In 2006, the RHS launched a new grass roots level for Bloom – It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN) – aimed at small volunteer groups (such as youth groups, ‘Friends of’ groups, etc.) and has grown from 342 to nearly 2,300 groups.
• Since 1964, Bloom has evolved from what many saw as a rural hanging basket competition to a major socio-environmental campaign that is improving villages, towns and cities across the UK.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.
We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.
The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262