Friday 17 October 2014
Shropshire town takes top gong at annual RHS awards ceremony
The Dingle, a public park in Shrewsbury. Credit: Shrewsbury in Bloom
Volunteers in Shrewsbury will be celebrating this morning after their town was named Champion of Champions at the annual Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom Awards Ceremony, held in Bristol last night.
Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign, Britain in Bloom, now run by the RHS, is in its 50th year so a momentous evening for all 71 finalists. The event was hosted by one of the world’s leading garden designers, Adam Frost, who started his career working for a local authority parks department.
RHS judges were impressed by the high quality and importance of horticulture in what is the home-town of the ‘grandfather of popular gardening’, Percy Thrower, and the birth-place of Charles Darwin.
One Shrewsbury project that stood out was Bowbrook Allotment Community Site. As well as accommodating 85 organic growing plots and an impressive series of nature trails, individual gardens have been created to educate young people about native plants, conservation, and edible growing.
The site relies on the ‘wonderful camaraderie and community spirit’ of volunteers who have contributed more than 2,000 hours to its upkeep.
Plotholders at the Bowbrook Allotment Community Site
Credit:Bowbrook Allotment Community Site
All RHS judges noted how Bloom is supporting a horticultural and environmental renaissance in parks with The Dingle (pictured), in Shrewsbury, described as an important environment for residents, businesses and visitors to the town.
RHS Director General Sue Biggs, said: “The annual RHS Britain in Bloom awards ceremony is not about one town, village or city beating another. It is about championing great community projects that make a difference to people’s lives. Since it started 50 years ago, Bloom has evolved into a national campaign which is constantly growing in impact around Britain.
“Right across the UK, communities are uniting to keep our streets and neighbourhoods looking beautiful, green and tidy, rejuvenating derelict land, giving local wildlife a helping hand through horticulture and getting to know each other, all through horticulture.
“Like Shrewsbury, the Bloom finalists represent how best to use public green space for the benefit of people, plants and the planet – there are almost four thousand RHS community gardening groups around Britain, all of whom are making a joyous difference in their area.
“I hope more and more people will be inspired to set up or join their local RHS Britain in Bloom group so the impact of this transformative campaign will continue to grow over the next 50 years.”
Each finalist was awarded either Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver of Bronze* and a series of additional awards were handed out to finalists and individuals who have been outstanding in certain areas.**
Stan Sedman MBE, from Shrewsbury, was honoured with an RHS Britain in Bloom Community Champion Award for his commitment to local Bloom initiatives. Stan has encouraged several local schools to take up gardening and he also volunteers at a hospice in Shrewsbury.
Shrewsbury also won the RHS Britain in Bloom Tourism Award, a discretionary award given out by judges to the finalist that demonstrated the most effective use of their local Bloom initiatives as a means of encouraging and supporting tourism in their area.
Britain in Bloom began in 1964 as a way to attract visitors to the country through floral displays. Since the RHS took over as organiser of the campaign in 2002, the focus has been widened to include environmental responsibility and community participation. In 2006, the RHS introduced It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN), which is a non-competitive arm of Bloom and open to all. There are currently nearly 2,000 IYN groups across Britain.
Last year, RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers collectively invested nearly 11 million hours into local Bloom activities, which equates to almost £70million at the National Minimum Wage.
Bath, who won Britain in Bloom in 1964, were a finalist again this year picking up Gold and winning the Small City category.
For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom, visit: rhs.org.uk/britaininbloom.
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For more information please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
Full list of results can be viewed here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/communities/campaigns/britain-in-bloom/rhs-britain-in-bloom-results
About RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving up to 300,000 people. In 2014, the campaign celebrates its 50th anniversary as Britain’s favourite gardening campaign. As part of RHS Britain in Bloom – and its sister campaign, RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood – volunteers in cities, towns, villages, urban communities and neighbourhoods work together to improve their local environment, using gardening as a tool.
To find out more, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/communities
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. 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.
Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.