GOLD! Marlborough achieves the ultimate accolade in this year's South West in Bloom
Where do we go from here? This was the immediate question posed by Chair Anne Crawley following Marlborough's outstanding GOLD success in this year's Royal Horticultural Society 'South West in Bloom' competition.
After last year's excellent achievement Marlborough was elevated to the 'Champion of Champions' class yet emerged triumphant with a Gold Award at the prize giving ceremony held last Thursday (5 October) in Torquay. The celebratory flag was hoisted to fly on the flag pole atop the Town Hall earlier this afternoon (9 October).
Not only did Marlborough excel in the main competition, but of the thirteen entries in the Neighbourhood Awards section seven were judged to be 'Outstanding', achieving a level 5, the maximum attainable. Also the Portfolio produced in support of the entry was awarded The West Country Tourist Board Trophy for The Best Judge's Portfolio.
Chairman of Judges for South West in Bloom, Jon Wheatley noted: "It was a delight to walk around the many excellent horticultural and environment features that the Marlborough in Bloom group have developed over recent years. You are congratulated on your GOLD award and excellent standards that you have achieved throughout the year. There is a very strong commitment to improvement and it was so interesting to see how the town council uses Bloom to deliver its collective services in most constructive manner which achieves many outcomes. Above all we were impressed by the whole team approach and commitment of all involved. You are a credit to the South West."
The seven 'It's Your Neighbourhood' entries that achieved level 5 'Outstanding' awards were: Coopers Meadow, Marlborough College Gardens, Marlborough Community Orchard, The Merchants House Garden, Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, The Victorian Cemetery and The Waterfront Garden at Kennet Place. Jon Wheatley noted: "The excellent water meadows and Victorian cemetery are fine examples of IYN projects which have major influence on the overall Bloom entry. The water meadows along the River Kennet demonstrate how with vision and leadership the involvement of volunteers can be used to great effect and have long term impact upon a town."
Mayor Mervyn Hall said: ”This is a huge achievement for Marlborough and our thanks go to Anne Crawley, who also scooped up an award for the best portfolio and to her MiB team and all those groups and projects who brought so many winning certificates back. I would like to say a special thank you to our Grounds Team who put in hours of time and effort in really bringing up the standard across our sites to help bring back the prize and for all of us to enjoy throughout the year.”
Judge Jon Wheatley's final comment was: "You should be congratulated on your excellent Portfolio, your wonderful hospitality, you really make 'Bloom' fun. One of the finest visits we have experienced."
Chair Anne Crawley paid particular thanks to Susan Wightman at Libanus Press, who along with text by Anne Crawley and photographs by Richard Beale, Anna Forbes, Charlotte Hitchmough, Nicola Salt and Richard Shaw, produced the outstanding award-winning Portfolio which was sent to the judges prior to their visit.
She then added: "It is wonderful that the dedication and love for our beautiful town has been recognised by these awards. We will be presenting the certificates and trophies at the AGM on Tuesday 7 November at 6.30 p.m. in the Town Hall together with a display of the work of our volunteers and of the award winning portfolio."