Bloom bosses hopes for top national win

Three gold medal winners from last year’s North West in Bloom are hoping their towns will blossom next week when judges visit to decide on a national winner.

Organisers in Garstang, Freckleton and Elswick are hoping they have done enough to scoop the coveted top prize in the Britain in Bloom competition.

Garstang In Bloom Martin Balentine at the Royal Oak

Garstang In Bloom Martin Balentine at the Royal Oak

Long-term chairman of Garstang in Bloom Norah Hoyles praised the hard work that had been put in by the whole community in recent weeks and said those responsible for watering had been stretched to the limit during the hot weather.

She said; “We’ve been given special permission to use the water hydrant at the fire station to help speed things up.

“On some days we had to water three times a day because everything was drying out so quickly.”

The town has an impressive track record and, according to Norah, who has been chair for the past 26 years, has won about 17 gold awards in the North West in Bloom Competition, which was judged earlier this month.

It is this ongoing success that has enabled Garstang to be put forward for the next stage of the competition at national level.

Norah said: “We’ve won golds in the national event before, but the competition is very tough indeed so we’ve never managed to win the overall title.

“This year we aim to pull out all the stops to bring the top prize to Garstang.

“The competition is not just about flowers but about the community. The schools take part along with businesses and individuals.

“People come up to me saying how wonderful everywhere looks, but it’s not without a huge effort.”

In Freckleton, which suffered a hiccup earlier this month when some plants were stolen from the displays, chairman Susan Lee said: “We never found out what happened to them; they just disappeared shortly after they were planted.

“But we’re on top of everything now and I’d like to think we have a good chance of winning.”

Freckleton won Silver Gilt when it went through to the national event for the first time two years ago, Elswcik has also done well in the competition recently, taking the title of Best Village in the North West last year. Only seven locations across the North West have been put forward for the Britain in Bloom event, run by the Royal Horticultural Society.

The national results will be announced in mid October, followed by the North West winners later that month.