Park is voted region's best

DEVOTED gardeners tending one of the region's best loved parks will have a spring in their step this weekend after the famous Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds had its prized status confirmed with a special award.

DEVOTED gardeners tending one of the region's best loved parks will have a spring in their step this weekend after the famous Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds had its prized status confirmed with a special award.

The park has clinched the Best Park in East Anglia prize and now goes on to fight it out with other top public gardens for the national prize.

The latest accolade means a lot to the park's gardeners and the wider Bury community, which prides itself on its floral presentation.

East Anglia's Best Park 2005 was nominated by members of the public and a panel of judges will decide later this month which of the best in the country will pick up Britain's Best Park award.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council - which looks after the gardens - congratulated the team behind the gardens: “It is a fantastic result and we will wait to see what happens at the final. I think it is particularly pleasing when you realise it is so popular with local people.”

Assistant Parks and Garden manager, John Smithson, said: “It is wonderful to receive this prize for all the staff who have put so much effort to make the park such a beautiful and safe place to be.

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“They all had a spring in their steps as they went home today and I hope some of the team will be able to go to the awards to speak to the judges and tell them why the Abbey Gardens is such a special place.”

The Abbey Gardens is now in the running to be crowned the best park in the United Kingdom when the overall winner is announced on September 6.

Apart from the floral displays, the gardens include aviaries, children's play area, the historic Abbey ruins, a sensory garden, bowling green, putting green, tea room, ice cream kiosk, award-winning public toilets and a riverside walk leading towards a local nature reserve.

The overall winner of the competition will receive £3,000 worth of commercial lawn maintenance equipment and the opportunity to go forward to the European competition.

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