Community spirit helps Warkworth strike silver

Jackie Galilee, Josie Mulligan, Sandie Taylor and Serena Coultrer from Warkworth In Bloom celebrate their Britain In Bloom Silver Gilt award.
Jackie Galilee, Josie Mulligan, Sandie Taylor and Serena Coultrer from Warkworth In Bloom celebrate their Britain In Bloom Silver Gilt award.

WARKWORTH has been awarded the prestigious silver gilt in this year’s Britain in Bloom.

It scooped the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) accolade in the large village category.

The news was announced during an RHS Awards ceremony on Sunday, hosted by TV gardener and presenter Rachel De Thame in Scotland.

A delighted Sandie Taylor, secretary for Warkworth in Bloom, said: “We were hoping for a silver gilt and we were very, very pleased to get it.

“The judges said that we were very, very close to getting the gold, which is spurring us on for next year.

“We will need to fine tune our floral displays and need to focus more on conservation.”

The Britain in Bloom judges toured in August, visiting all 76 UK finalists, assessing against three criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

They were impressed with what they saw in Warkworth.

The village boasted a revamped Millennium Garden, which includes a diamond-shaped bed with white plants in preparation for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year.

Judges praised the residential gardens in the village, which they described as being of ‘very high quality’, and were impressed with the churchyard at St Lawrence Church, saying it had ‘well-balanced planting and restful lawns’ and praised the work of the parishioners.

Warkworth C of E (Aided) First School also proved popular, with judges impressed by the enthusiasm of the children and their ‘great understanding of the natural environment’.

They praised Warkworth for its ‘well-chosen and meticulously cared for displays’ throughout the village.

Sandie, who attended the awards ceremony with fellow Bloom members Serena Coulter, Jackie Galilee and Josie Mulligan, said: “The judges said that we had a very, very good community in Warkworth and they were very impressed with the community spirit and how everybody had worked together.”

Thanks have been given to everyone who helped the bloom efforts and Sandie said the team had a good relationship with Northumberland County Council, particularly its depot in Alnwick.

This year was the first time since 2006 that Warkworth was in the national competition, when it received silver, having obtained a silver gilt the year before.

Roger Burnett, chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Judging Panel, said the judges noticed that many communities were facing greater challenges this year but added: “No matter what the challenge, these finalists were facing it with determination and spirit and making their communities better places in which to live.”