Wins for Alnwick Garden and Lesbury Post Office in Northumbria in Bloom awards

The Alnwick Garden has struck gold at the annual Northumbria in Bloom awards.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 1:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 3:25 pm
The Alnwick Garden.
The Alnwick Garden.

It was joint winner of the best tourist or visitor attraction category.

Judges said: ‘The rose garden was exceptional and the formal gardens at the top of the garden were a constant delight with fine planting, unexpected vistas and the refreshing sound of running water.

‘The community programme was an inspiration, demonstrating a creativity of thought that goes beyond the normal.

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Lesbury Post Office won the best small commercial premises category.

‘The judges were also impressed with the environmental responsibility demonstrated within the garden and it is a credit to all those involved with its planning and operation.’

Alnwick was pipped by Berwick in the towns section but still won gold, while Swansfield Park Primary School also won a gold in the schools category.

There was success too for Lesbury Post Office which won the best small commercial premises category and a silver gilt.

Judges said: ‘The front of the Post Office is enhanced by six self-watering planters, looked after by a team of volunteers. They aim for year-round interest with winter and summer schemes, all looking very healthy. The adjacent seating area is very neat and well-maintained and is regularly used as a local meeting area.”

Also in Lesbury, St Mary’s Church was awarded a silver gilt in the best religious establishment section, while 20 South View got a silver gilt in the best private garden category and Orchard Terrace won gold in the best residential community section.

Alnmouth railway station was awarded a silver gilt in the best bus/metro/railway station category.

The competition, now in its 57th year, is all about encouraging local communities to improve their area through community gardening and sound environmental practises.

It is part of the UK wide Britain in Bloom campaign run by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Andrew Jackson, chairman of Northumbria in Bloom said: “The last 18 months have certainly been the most challenging and disruptive since Northumbria in Bloom was established in 1964.

“However, although our entries have had to contend with the lockdown restrictions like everyone else, it has been really pleasing to see all the fantastic work that they and their communities have still managed to do in their local areas despite all the difficulties.

"The region has still ‘bloomed’ in 2021 despite Covid and our entries efforts will, I am sure, have cheered up everyone and helped them through these most difficult times. These awards are all about recognising and celebrating all that our entries have collectively achieved in enhancing the overall environment of the North East in 2021.”

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “These communities, parks and public spaces look wonderful because of the effort that goes into tending and caring for them.

“Bloom awards aren't achieved overnight, and a lot of time is put in all year round with clean ups, tidying and planting.

“During the Covid pandemic, the county’s open spaces played an important role in providing a much-needed respite for our residents who could enjoy time out in the fresh air in beautiful surroundings.

“I am very grateful to everyone involved in making these places that everyone can enjoy. Volunteers who have given their time have done a fantastic job and that is reflected in the abundance of awards.”


Best overall entry: Washington Village

Most improved entry: Fishburn

Best new entry: Horncliffe

Small village: Middleton Hall retirement village (silver gilt)

Villages: Winner - Washington Village; Shortlisted – Horncliffe (gold), Greatham (silver gilt), Lesbury (silver gilt), Norham (silver)

Large villages: Winner - Holywell; Shortlisted – Middleton in Teesdale (gold), West Auckland (gold), Fishburn (silver gilt), Seghill (bronze)

Small towns: Joint winners – Sacriston and Sedgefield; Shortlisted – Corbridge (silver), Catchgate (bronze)

Towns: Winner – Berwick; Shortlisted – Alnwick (gold)

Large towns: Winner – Chester-le-Street; Shortlisted – Bishop Auckland (silver gilt), Stanley (silver gilt)

Small city: Durham

Urban community: Belmont

Coastal resort: Seaham

City centre: Darlington

Special awards

Community champions: Clare Todd, Chester-le-Street; Stuart Clasper, Durham; Ron Potter, Belmont; Darren McMahon, Stanley

Best Business and Out of Town Retail Park: Winner – Newcastle Business Park; Shortlisted – Greencroft Industrial Estate, Stanley, Seaham Marina

Schools: Winner – Gilesgate Primary School, Belmont; Shortlisted – Swansfield Primary School, Alnwick, Fishburn Primary School, St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Stanley

Best Care/Residential/Convalescent Home, Hospice or Day Centre: North Star Day Centre, Berwick; Shortlisted – St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham; Concord House, Holywell; Justice for Women Centre, Stanley

Best Religious Establishment: St Cuthbert’s Catholic Church, Chester-le-Street; Shortlisted – Belmont Cemetery; Bishop Auckland Baptist Church; Darlington St. Augustine’s Church; Durham Cathedral; St Mary’s Church, Lesbury and East Stanley Cemetery

Best Commercial Premises (Small): Lesbury Post Office (silver gilt); Shortlisted – Darlington Hash Bar and Kitchen; Rumours Coffe Shop, Middleton in Teesdale; Chapel Wedding Cars, Stanley

Best Commercial Premises (Large): Ord House Country Park, Berwick

Best Pub: Ball Alley, Stanley; Shortlisted – Maguire’s Bar, Berwick; Tapas Bar, Darlington; Teesdale Hotel, Middleton in Teesdale; The Cross Keys, Washington Village

Best Hotel / Guest House: Ramside Hall Hotel, Belmont; Shortlisted – The Walls B&B, Berwick; Lumley Castle Hotel; Seaham Hall Hotel

Best Conservation: Belmont Scrambles; Shortlisted – Bishop Auckland, Castle Chare Water Fountain; Chester-le-Street, Camperdown Pocket Park

Best Bus/Metro/Railway Station: Berwick Transport Interchange; Shortlisted – Alnmouth Railway Station; Durham Railway Station

Best Park: Castle Vale Parks, Berwick; Shortlisted – Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street; South Park, Darlington; Wharton Park, Durham; Holywell Community Orchard; Seaham Town Park; Annfield Plain Park

Best Town Centre Retail Area / BIDs: Seaton Delaval; Shortlisted – Durham BID; Stanley

Best Private Garden: Philip Wall, Belmont

Best Grounds of a Hospital, University or Public Building: Durham University

Best Sports Ground: Berwick Bowling Club

Best Residential Community – Spittal

Best Allotments: Belmont

Joint Best Tourist or Visitor Attraction, or Country Estate: Alnwick Garden; Durham University Botanic Garden

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