Ahoghill Crowned RHS Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions

Monday 17 October 2016

Northern Irish entry among the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in the United Kingdom

Last night, Ahoghill in County Antrim, was awarded the ultimate prize in community gardening when it was named the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions.

The Northern Irish town was given the accolade at the RHS’ 2016 Britain in Bloom Awards Ceremony hosted by TV Gardening Expert Chris Beardshaw. Ahoghill was also awarded a Gold medal for their entry.

Representing the Ulster region, Ahoghill was one of only six areas from across the UK chosen to compete in the coveted Champion of Champions category of the awards and its success confirms its position as arguably the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful small town in the United Kingdom.

The RHS Britain in Bloom Awards ceremony celebrates the huge contribution made by the 300,000 Bloom volunteers whose hard work and dedication help transform what are often grey and unloved areas into greener, cleaner and more beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy.

Over the summer, teams of RHS judges travelled the length and breadth of the country to see the 72 finalists’ Bloom campaigns to determine who would lift the top prizes. Each finalist was assessed against three key criteria: community participation, environmental responsibility and of course, horticultural achievement.

Chairman of the UK Judging Panel, Roger Burnett said: “This has been a truly outstanding year for Britain in Bloom with local communities devoting tremendous amounts of time and effort into greening grey areas and sharing the many health and social benefits of horticulture.

“The judges were very impressed by the way communities refused to let the many challenges they faced hold them back. The finalists’ desire and determination to make their environment as green and pleasant as possible was truly humbling.

"We as judges are privileged to have a front row seat to see Britain in Bloom volunteers change the lives of thousands through their work. And it’s fitting that their efforts are recognised and celebrated.”

The 72 Britain in Bloom finalists were vying for Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver or Bronze medals, category winner awards and discretionary awards for achieving excellence in particular fields.

For the first time the RHS introduced a special award to recognise areas that have overcome adversity, such as flooding or vandalism.

The full results of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals Awards are listed below.

For more information, pictures or to arrange interviews please contact Garfield Myrie on 020 7821 3060 / 07590 930 047 or garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk  / Claire Weaver on 020 7821 3043 or claireweaver@rhs.org.uk



Notes to editors

For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom visit www.rhs.org.uk/communities
Britain in Bloom with the RHS 2016 UK Finals Awards:



Notes to the Editor:

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) – which is 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

Medal Awards
Gold (Overall 170–200 points; 85% and above)
An exceptionally high standard demonstrated throughout. A consistent approach that demonstrates
best practice, continuing development and sustainable effort. Meets all of the judging criteria and
scores very highly in every section of the marking sheet.

Silver Gilt (Overall 150–169 points; 75–84%)
Very Good
A high-standard entry that meets virtually all of the judging criteria and includes sections of
exceptionally high standards. Exemplifies best practice in multiple areas and demonstrates very high
potential for continuing development and sustainable effort.

Silver (Overall 120–149 points; 60–74%)
Considered to be an above-average entry that meets many of the judging criteria. The entry will
include more than one sub-section that demonstrates exceptionally high standards. In particular, the
entry will demonstrate a clear potential to improve in several areas and for sustainable effort.

Bronze (Overall 100-119 points; 50-59%)
An average entry that meets some but not necessarily all of the judging criteria. The entry will include
at least one subsection that demonstrates a very high standard but the standards will not be
consistent throughout. There will be some evidence of the potential to improve and of the ability to
sustain effort.

No award (Overall 0-99 points; 0-49%)
The entry may have a number of good merits and may have done very well in its category in the
region; however, the entry has not met the judging criteria to a national standard. The entry is not
sufficiently developed to achieve any of the RHS Britain in Bloom medals.

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


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262