Bloom village goes for gold

IT’S Olympic year, and a north Northumberland village is going for its very own gold, in a prestigious national floral competition.

Warkworth has been selected from more than 1,000 entries to take part in the 2012 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals.

It is one of only 73 finalists and has been placed in the Large Village category alongside Melrose, Hillsborough, Tatsfield, Hutton Cranswick and Market Bosworth.

Last year, Warkworth grabbed a silver gilt in the same section, narrowly missing out on a gold.

But the village’s bloom team, of Serena Coulter, Josie Mulligan, Jackie Galilee and Sandie Taylor, is hoping that the illustrious accolade will not elude them this time round.

“We are going for gold this year,” said Serena, who is treasurer of the village’s green-fingered group.

“If ever there was a year to get gold, then this is the year, with both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. We are hoping this will be our year.

“It is fantastic that Warkworth has been invited to compete in Britain in Bloom as it means our high standards have been recognised.

“This year, we will be acknowledging the Jubilee and the Olympic Games and we will be looking to weave colours of gold, silver and bronze with Royal colours of purple and red, as well as red, white and blue.”

As part of the nation’s London 2012 celebrations, Warkworth is set to welcome the iconic Olympic Torch Relay on Friday, June 15.

And Serena admits this gives greater incentive to this year’s bloom efforts, with plans to extend the floral displays to the approach to the village to welcome the flame.

“It is a really exciting prospect and it gives us even more of an excuse to put on more of a show,” she added.

The RHS judging panel will tour in the summer, awarding points against three key criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

The results will be announced in October at an awards ceremony in Guernsey.

Warkworth is the only location in north Northumberland to reach the Britain in Bloom finals and Serena paid tribute to the bloomin’ good efforts of the community which helps Warkworth come alive in fine floral fashion each year.

She said: “Reaching the Britain in Bloom finals is the culmination of all the hard work by the bloom team but also to the ever-growing number of helpers.

“It is a real community effort and all the village is behind us.”

On Saturday, February 25, the bloom team, alongside Warkworth C of E Aided First School, is holding a fund-raising coffee morning at the village’s Memorial Hall, from 10am to noon, to collect money for this year’s floral efforts.

For more information about the bloom team or to help out, call Serena on 01665 710850.

Other Britain in Bloom finalists from the Northumbria region are Morpeth (Town), Sedgefield (Small Town), Stanghow (Small Village), Stockton (Champion of Champions) and Sunderland (Large City).