Gallery: Anglia in Bloom awards anounced with winners from across Suffolk and Essex

Anglia in Bloom has awarded Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds with a gold award.

Anglia in Bloom has awarded Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds with a gold award. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Gardeners from across Suffolk and Essex are celebrating Anglia in Bloom success after months of green-fingered graft.

The winners were announced yesterday at an awards ceremony in Gorleston-on-Sea, with Halstead failing to hold on to the overall award after holding it for two years running.

Bury St Edmunds’ parks received high praise, with Gold for Nowton Park and Abbey Gardens, which also won the best newcomer award.

The town also achieved a Silver Gilt award in the large town catergory, which is down from a Gold last year.

This year saw the introduction of the Mike Ames Award, in memory of the former Bury mayor, who died earlier this year.

Earning this award was Bury’s own Steve Burgess, head gardener at Abbey Gardens and servant of the town for 30 years.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, said: “We are absolutely delighted with Steve Burgess getting the Mike Ames award.

Most Read

“It has been a good year for Bury with Abbey Gardens and Nowton park winning gold. We are obviously disappointed with the Silver Gilt.

“We will have to try and find out what we could have done better and try and get back to Gold next year. I know a lot of other towns who were previously Gold were also surprised to find out they got Silver Gilt.”

“We really were hoping after last year’s Gold to do it again this year, it is disappointing but that doesn’t mean we aren’t proud of our work.”

Mrs Lesser, who lives on Albert Street, added: “We had far more volunteers this year with 150 to 200 people getting involved, which was brilliant.

“The awards are a great credit to the Abbey Gardens Friends who show how good volunteer power can be. They go down and help out Steve and his team and have been brilliant for Bury.

“It was a great tribute to Mike Ames, who obviously meant so much to Anglia and Britain in Bloom. His son Jonathan presented the award to Steve and all the judges were wearing colourful bow ties in memory of Mike.”

Over in Sudbury the town equalled last year’s outing, earning Gold in the town category while Belle Vue achieved Silver Gilt in the small park category, down on Gold from last year.

Chairman of Sudbury in Bloom Nick Irwin said: “I am very pleased with it. The judging criteria changes every year, which makes it very difficult to work out what the judges are looking for.

“It is absolutely brilliant. It is great that we have got Gold again for the second year running, I am very pleased.

“The people of Sudbury can hold their head up and be proud of the town and their efforts in helping us.”

The 62-year-old, who lives in Melford Road, added: “Everyone worked very hard with a special thanks to the Town Hall staff and the members of public who went that extra mile to show their pride in the town.”

Bob Ollier, chairman of Anglia in Bloom, said: “This year standards have continued on from last year with excellent awards achieved.

“The outstanding community work, many resourceful projects and superb colourful displays have all added to these standards.

“Continuing on from last year, the key to success has been community involvement where everyone pulls together, gets involved and then delivers.

“Communities are also recognising the importance of sustainable displays coupled with good horticultural standards, delivering outstanding floral displays.

“I wish to 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.”

Julia Smith, secretary of Halstead in Bloom, which won a Gold award and best town, said: “We are thrilled to bits. It is a great achievement to get a Gold award and best town again.

“We are never confident, we knew we had done our best and we had to hope it was good enough, and the judges thought it was.

“We have just had the judges’ report and it was excellent. There were no areas for improvement so we were very pleased about that. All we can do is keep trying to do our best.”

Colchester also managed to scoop a Gold award. Dave Harris, secretary of Colchester in Bloom, said: “We are over the moon we have got Gold again. Getting Gold every year is no mean achievement, it takes a lot of work.

“It is good to know we have been recognised as holding our head up. I am skipping with joy.

“Castle Park is the jewel in our crown and I really think we can hold it up nationally as a treasure, and for that accolade I am not surprised but it’s nice to know it has been recognised.”

In Woodbridge, mayor Geoff Holdcroft said he was “absolutely delighted” by news of a silver gilt award from Anglia in Bloom judges for the town’s Elmhurst Park.

The town council shared its pride following the announcement in the small park category, which rewards spaces up to 10 acres.

Elmhurst Park was also included in this year’s list of Green Flag award winners by the Keep Britain Tidy group.

It was the 13th successive year that the park - the only directly managed town council park in the UK - had been given the national standard award for green spaces.

Town Clerk Chris Walker said the award complemented all the hard work put into the park’s horticulture and staging of public events.

Halesworth is celebrating winning Gold this year, after a Silver Gilt in 2013. Town council chairman Annette Dunning said: “It’s amazing, it’s really good.

“Congratulations to Tamsyn Imison (Halesworth in Bloom Co-ordinator) and her fantastic team.”

Last year the team won a silver gilt, but managed to go one better this year.

Mrs Dunning added: “It’s fantastic news, we had no idea. It’s been lovely to come and see them win it, they’ve worked hard for it.”

This year’s overall winner was Norfolk village Filby, which picked up several awards on the day.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter