A north Northumberland village has tonight scooped a Silver Gilt in the Large Village category at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom National Awards for 2012.
Warkworth had earlier been awarded a gold and won its category in Northumbria in Bloom, but has now triumphed at the RHS Britain in Bloom Award ceremony held this evening in St Peter Port, Guernsey.
Hosted by BBC One Show presenter Matt Baker, the glittering event was attended by 450 community gardening champions from around the country.
Serena Coulter, treasurer of Warkworth in Bloom, said: “Taking part in the RHS Britain in Bloom finals has been an exciting experience. We are proud to have reached the final. We achieved high standards with the help of our team of workers, Rotary club members, Northumberland County Council and the support of the Parish Council by way of a grant each year.
“Warkworth residents help by attending fund-raisers and giving generous donations We enjoy enhancing the village with our floral displays and will continue the work to make. Warkworth an even better place in which to live. It’s all about community spirit and Warkworth has it in buckets-full.”
More than 1,200 UK communities, from big cities to tiny villages, participate each year in the RHS campaign to green-up and clean-up Britain. Of these, just 72 finalists were chosen to represent their region/nation in the UK Finals. Warkworth represented Northumbria in the Large Village category.
Chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Judging Panel, Roger Burnett, led a team of 14 volunteer judges who toured the UK in July and August visiting each finalist. They marked against three key criteria - horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
Roger said: “We had the privilege and pleasure of visiting the most environmentally aware communities in Britain and meeting the wonderful people responsible for them. The best thing about being a judge is meeting the volunteers. They’re hard-working and resilient – whatever’s thrown at them, whether it’s a hose-pipe ban or flooding, they’ll find a way around it.
“It’s a hugely comforting thought to know that there are over 200,000 Britain in Bloom volunteers across the UK.”
Last year, the RHS released a report demonstrating how RHS Britain in Bloom benefits the physical, social and economic health of the country. It revealed that being involved in the campaign was a key factor in driving visitors and investment into areas, thus improving economic wellbeing. Local businesses flourish, jobs are created and local authorities save a vast amount of money.
A number of discretionary awards were also given to communities and individuals who demonstrated excellence in a particular area of the campaign. These included awards for young people’s involvement, environmental sustainability and community-wide participation, amongst others.
Morpeth also won a Silver Gilt in the Town category.