Top floral towns scoop awards

STUNNING floral displays have won prestigious honours for a number of towns and villages across the region.This year's hotly-contested Anglia in Bloom competition winners were announced yesterday at a packed ceremony at St Andrews Hall, Norwich.

STUNNING floral displays have won prestigious honours for a number of towns and villages across the region.

This year's hotly-contested Anglia in Bloom competition winners were announced yesterday at a packed ceremony at St Andrews Hall, Norwich.

Sixty-four communities from Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire entered the contest, which is sponsored by rail operator One.

The overall winner was Brightlingsea, which also picked up the gong for best town, while Saxmundham won the prize for best small town and Bury St Edmunds was judged as best large town, also winning the award for “cleanest entry”. It was the second year running Bury has scooped the best large town award.

Peter Patrick, Tendring District Council member for Brightlingsea East, said last night: “I am delighted and it is a just reward for all those who have put so much hard work into this. We consider the Brightlingsea in Bloom organisation as being a real credit to the community.”

Mayor of Brightlingsea Colin Olivier added: “This is super news and it reflects the great efforts of the Brightlingsea in Bloom organisation which works to enhance the town tremendously. They are very community-minded and it has got to the stage now where if they do not win some form of award for their great work, it would almost be seen as a failure.”

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Mike Ames, chairman of Bury in Bloom and president of Anglia in Bloom, said: “I know what a great amount of work has been done in communities across the region. This year, things are better than ever.”

It was the first time Saxmundham had received such a major award for its floral displays, said Richard Smith, town council chairman.

“I'm very pleased and proud on behalf of the town. The committee that oversees it worked very hard this year.

“We have won minor awards but we have never won this before, and I'm delighted. It's well deserved reward for all the hard work that was put in by volunteers in the town.”

The town had a record number of hanging baskets this year, at around 180, and pulled out all the stops to impress the judges, said Mr Smith.

The local scout group cleaned up the area around the River Fromus and schoolchildren planted up the new Fromus Square area.

Elsewhere, the prize for the best local authority effort went to Felixstowe for its Sea Britain display and the best conservation project award went to the Watermeadows, Sudbury.

The best community project was in Sunningdale Avenue, Lowestoft, and the best drought garden award was given to the Millennium Garden in Martlesham.

Frinton Primary School won the top award for best young people's project for youngsters aged under 12 years.

A team of 15 judges worked their way through the numerous entries during the last three weeks of July.

George Dawson, chair of judges, said: “The judges do not look for floral excellence alone and it is not just about what is done by the local authority.

“The way businesses and commercial premises are enhanced, environmental matters and also residential front gardens, for example, are also taken into account.

“Permanent planting is encouraged as is nature conservation and waste prevention - we pay attention to how clean a place is and whether it is litter and graffiti free.

“Another important element is community involvement as it is shown that a successful campaign in Anglia in Bloom improves all aspects of the local environment including a reduction in anti-social behaviour and much friendlier neighbourhoods. It can also enhance property values.”

The regional competition is linked to the Britain In Bloom contest, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and four of the Anglia winners will go on the 2006 finals. A decision on the finalists will be taken at a seminar on November 10.

CATEGORY WINNERS

Best overall entry and winner of the One Trophy: Brightlingsea.

Best small village: Swainsthorpe.

Best village: Filby.

Best large village: Orsett.

Best small town: Saxmundham.

Best town: Brightlingsea.

Best large town: Bury St Edmunds.

Best small city: Stevenage.

Best city: Southend.

Best coastal resort: Sheringham.

Best new entry: Orwell.

Most improved entry: Southend.

Best local authority: Sea Britain display, Felixstowe.

Best conservation project: Watermeadows, Sudbury.

Best community project: Sunningdale Avenue, Lowestoft.

Best drought garden: Millennium Garden, Martlesham.

Best garden for people with special needs: Highfield Special School, Ely.

Best industrial area: Ermine Park, Huntingdon.

Best public open space: Priory Park, Southend.

Cleanest entry award: Bury St Edmunds.

Best young people's project (aged under 12 years): Frinton Primary School.

Best young people's project (aged 12-18 years): St Peter's School, Burnham-on-Crouch.

The Roy Lacey Judges Discretionary Award: David Foster.

Best railway station: Wymondham.

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