Halstead crowned winner and community efforts recognised at the 2016 Anglia in Bloom awards
- Credit: Archant
Green-fingered residents from across the region are celebrating today after the winners of this year’s Anglia in Bloom competition were revealed.
The north Essex town of Halstead – which scooped a gold award for best town in 2011, 2012 and 2014 and enjoyed similar victories at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom awards – was crowned overall winner for the second year running at a special ceremony last night.
Their success was shared by a number of other north Essex towns and villages, and Bury St Edmunds flew the flag for west Suffolk by winning the large town category and bringing home the gold award.
Julia Smith, who founded Halstead in Bloom with Michael Portway back in 2000, was honoured with a community champion award for her long service.
Mrs Smith, who is 69 and lives in Sible Hedingham, said: “It’s fantastic for Halstead to win this award, and it’s all down to our fantastic team who come out and help in all weathers.
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“In June and July this year more than 1,000 volunteering hours had been carried out which is incredible, it’s a proud moment for the town.”
She said she was “absolutely gobsmacked” to be awarded a community champion award at last night’s ceremony.
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“I was absolutely gobsmacked to receive my award, really thrilled,” she said.
“I’m sure there are people much more deserving of it than me but it was lovely.”
Halstead mayor Shirley Diver and her fellow town councillors said in a joint statement they were “delighted” that their town had once again “swept the board” at the Anglia in Bloom awards.
“We are absolutely delighted to win these awards and especially to be named the overall winner,” they said.
“We’d like to thank all at Halstead in Bloom for their enormous hard work throughout the year, and Julia is thoroughly deserving of her special award.
“We’d also like to thank the environment agency for coming in and cleaning the river, and being able to speak to the judges. That made quite a difference.”
Brian Thornton, of Lowestoft in Bloom, was also recognised with the prestigious award.
Fordham, near Colchester, won a gold award for the villages category at the awards ceremony, while Stoke by Nayland collected a silver gilt award.
In the small town category, Frinton-on-Sea – which first created its In Bloom service with the aim of giving the seaside town a ‘natural facelift’ – was the overall winner, while Halesworth won a gold award.
And Coggeshall, which is around ten miles south of Colchester, received a silver award in the same category, and was also winner of the most consistently improved town.
But Halstead was once again named the winner of the town category, which assesses urban areas with between 6,000 and 12,000 residents – and the west Suffolk town of Sudbury collected a silver award.
Bury St Edmunds won gold and were crowned overall winner of the large town category.
In the city category, Colchester scooped a gold award, and in the coastal section, the east Suffolk town of Lowestoft received a silver gilt award.
Colchester’s Highwoods Country Park was declared the overall winner of the large park category, while Bury St Edmunds’ Abbey Gardens and Nowton Park, alongside Colchester’s Castle Park, received gold awards.
“This shows what people can do when they get together,” said Colchester in Bloom chairwoman Pam Schomberg.
“Each and every volunteer makes a huge difference. We all have a great time and hope lots more people can join us for the 2017 campaign.”
Medium-sized parks recognised at the ceremony included Halstead Public Gardens, which became the overall winner of the category, while Halstead Town Park and Halesworth Town Park both received silver gilt awards.
And Lowestoft’s Nicholas Everitt Park, which is under five acres, was named the overall winner of the small park category, a title it now shares with St Peter’s Church Gardens in Wisbech.
Crescent Gardens in Frinton-on-Sea, which are situated next to the seafront, collected a silver gilt award in the same category.
Anglia in Bloom chairman Bob Ollier said: “I congratulate all the communities and neighbourhoods in the East of England, for the enthusiasm, commitment and effort made to improve, develop and sustain local environments across our region, it is a great credit to you all, well done.”
“All entrants should be congratulated on their achievement of consistent high marks across all the key criteria in all the sections of the competition.”
Notable winners in smaller categories:
Cemeteries (under 10 acres)
Halesworth Closed Cemetery - Silver award
Cemeteries (more than 10 acres)
Colchester Cemetery - Silver gilt award
Weeley Crematorium - Silver gilt award
Gunton Hall Hotel, Lowestoft - Winner and silver gilt award
Most consistently improved
Railway Cottage Garden, Frinton-on-Sea - Winner
Millenium Green, Halesworth - Nominated
Best community project
St Helena Hospice, Colchester - Nominated
Best conservation project
River Walk, Halstead - Nominated
Eden Rose Project, Sudbury - Nominated
Best drought/sustainable garden
Rock Garden, Frinton-on-Sea - Winner
Environmental quality award
Stoke By Nayland - Nominated
Halstead - Nominated
Grow your own award
New Town Community Garden, Colchester - Nominated
Best individual/community floral display
Martin and Lesley Jones, Whitton Court, Lowestoft - Nominated
Best industrial/commercial area
The Triangle shopping area, Frinton-on-Sea - Winner
High Street area, Halesworth - Nominated
Best local authority floral display
The Three Bees - Colchester
Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds - Nominated
Best public open space
Fordham Village Green - Nominated
Best garden for special needs
The Big Garden, Highwoods, Colchester - Winner
Best sheltered housing or care home garden
Broadlands Care Home, Lowestoft - Winner
Best young people’s project (aged 12 years and under)
The Cub Scouts Bee Project, Colchester - Winner
Dell Road Primary School, Lowestoft - Nominated