Going for gold

Wooler (in bloom).
Wooler (in bloom).

TOWNS and villages in north Northumberland are going for gold with their floral displays in a bid to win over experts next week.

The Northumbria in Bloom judges will be scrutinising the planting efforts of local teams when they visit the region looking for the best floral displays for the annual competition.

Last year Warkworth was given a gold in the large village category and will be going for the same accolade again this year while Alnwick’s team is stepping up its efforts to go for the big time as well after winning a silver gilt in the best small town category last year while the Northumberland Gazette was given a gold and the Gladys Watson Trophy for the best commercial premises (other than licensed).

Starting in Alnwick on Wednesday, the panel will be given a two-hour tour of the town beginning at Alnwick Garden with three judges – Don Renton, Patricia Foster and Robert German – taking in the efforts.

Chairman of Alnwick in Bloom, Tom Pattinson, said: “We got a silver gilt medal last year and were way up on the marks, we weren’t far from gold. We are hoping that they will see Alnwick in its best light this year. We have improved several things since last year and we have things like the Harry Hotspur statue now too.

“It is about the state of the buildings as well as the gardens and plants and we’re hoping we can possibly do even better this year.

“We hope everyone pulls together and steps in to help. People can pick up litter outside their homes and make sure it looks tidy.”

On Wednesday afternoon the judges will go to Felton, which has won silver awards for the last three years.

Different groups and committees are responsible for separate areas and all are now working hard to get the village nice for the visit.

Marion Clark from Felton in Bloom said: “Our judging date has been changed so we are about to send out a message to everyone to let them know and make sure everything is tidied up.

“We’ve had silver awards for the last three years so we are hoping to continue with that.”

The team will then visit Warkworth on Thursday which was given the Cameron Trophy after winning gold in the best large village category in last year’s competition.

And the Warkworth in Bloom committee is also going for a gold at Britain in Bloom this year.

Serena Coulter from the committee said: “We are fine- tuning now. We’ve planted everything and we’re down to the nitty-gritty.

“We are making sure everything is neat and tidy and weed free and we have worked hard to make it like that.

“Our reputation is of having no litter and no dog fouling and we want to keep it that way.

“We’re hoping for a gold again this year and we are also in Britain in Bloom and are going for a gold in that so it is a double effort to get the village ready for the two competitions.”

And on Thursday afternoon it is Wooler’s turn to come under scrutiny.

The village was awarded a silver in the best large village category last year.

Brenda Affleck, from Wooler in Bloom said: “We’ve got a great team going around together to make sure that all of the boxes and tubs are nice and tidy and making sure everything is clean.”

Alnwick in Bloom judging will take place later this summer as well and this year will be run in a different format.

An entry form will be in the Northumberland Gazette for those who want to take part in the competition for their own garden or business display.

These will then be judged by the committee and an awards ceremony will take place in September for the winners to be presented with their accolades and trophies.