Wisbech celebrates scooping gold in Britain In Bloom
PUBLISHED: 15:06 17 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:25 21 October 2016
Wisbech is celebrating scooping a gold medal in the "large town" category at the Britain in Bloom UK awards ceremony.
It was hailed as “a fantastic achievement in the toughest group in the competition”.
Wisbech, which represented the Anglia region, was one of only 10 areas from across the UK chosen to compete in the large town category.
Brian Massingham, chairman of Wisbech in Bloom, and Bob Ollier, Fenland District Council’s parks and open spaces manager, were presented with the award at the ceremony in Birmingham on Friday night.
Mr Massingham said: “After all our hard work, to get such a fantastic result is absolutely incredible and it’s thanks to everyone. We all work together for the good of the town.
“Our volunteers have worked in partnership with the council to achieve this fantastic result but we could not do it without the support of local horticultural businesses, the town’s visitor attractions, other community organisations and the generosity of sponsors.
“For a growing market town with many social problems this is an achievement to celebrate and build upon.”
Wisbech In Bloom’s Penny Stocks added: “This is unbelievable – to be part of the elite in such a strong category is incredible.”
The Royal Horticultural Society, which runs the awards, said the gold medal, the highest available, confirmed Wisbech’s position as one of the greenest and most beautiful large towns in the country.
According to its judging criteria, a gold constitutes “an exceptionally high standard demonstrated throughout. A consistent approach that demonstrates best practice, continuing development and sustainable effort. Meets all of the judging criteria and scores very highly in every section of the marking sheet.”
Bob Ollier said: “This is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I’ve waited eight years to bring a gold medal to Wisbech. The gold is extremely elusive. Even when Wisbech won the category in 2008, it was with a silver gilt.
“To win gold in the toughest group is a fantastic achievement. It shows an exceptionally high standard and reflects the terrific amount of work put in by everyone involved right up to the last minute.
“There are three pillars to the award: horticultural excellence, environmental responsibility and community participation. The key is consistency in all three.”
Councillor Peter Murphy, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for the environment, said: “Very many congratulations to all the individuals and groups who’ve played their part, large and small, in this year’s Wisbech In Bloom campaign. It’s an absolutely tremendous result. Once again the town has done Fenland proud.”
The awards ceremony celebrates the huge contribution made by the 300,000 Bloom volunteers whose hard work and dedication help transform what are often grey and unloved areas into greener, cleaner and more beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Roger Burnett, chairman of the UK judging panel, said: “This has been a truly outstanding year for Britain in Bloom, with local communities devoting tremendous amounts of time and effort into greening grey areas and sharing the many health and social benefits of horticulture.
“The judges were very impressed by the way communities refused to let the many challenges they faced hold them back. The finalists’ desire and determination to make their environment as green and pleasant as possible was truly humbling.
“We as judges are privileged to have a front row seat to see Britain in Bloom volunteers change the lives of thousands through their work. And it’s fitting that their efforts are recognised and celebrated.”