Woolton in Bloom has been selected from more than 1,000 entrants to take part in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals 2014, as the campaign celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The national Britain in Bloom judges nominated Woolton to the national finals of the competition following the regional stage of judging in 2013. It was selected for engaging every element of the community, for demonstrating an exceptional commitment to helping the environment and for horticultural excellence.
Now, Woolton has been nominated by the RHS for the prestigious Champion of Champions Category – one of only five entries in the whole country.
In July / August, Woolton will be visited by two RHS judges who will meet community representatives and go on a tour of local projects. As well as the usual bedding displays, judges will inspect everything from local recycling initiatives to areas of natural habitat and conservation. They’ll also be looking at the management of street furniture and public parks, and will be assessing how well the group is responding to climate change and council cuts by giving awards for sustainable practices and inventive schemes to raise money to fund projects.
Woolton is going for Gold and aim to win their category. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony in Bristol this October and will be attended by representatives of all 74 finalists.
Councillor Barbara Mace, Chair of Woolton in Bloom, said “It is the highest possible honour to be nominated for Champion of Champions in this the 50th Anniversary of the RHS. From small beginnings in 2001 Woolton has won accolade after accolade, Gold after Gold, and to win Gold again would means so much to the small group of volunteers who work hard all year round.”
Stephanie Eynon, RHS Community Horticulture Manager, said: “This is a really special year to be an RHS Britain in Bloom finalist because it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the campaign. We would like to congratulate every group for reaching the finals of RHS Britain in Bloom but of course it’s not about beating fellow finalists, it’s about volunteers of all ages and walks of life gaining recognition for their extraordinary efforts to improve streets and neighbourhoods in towns, villages and cities across Britain. The awards are our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and may I wish Woolton in Bloom and every finalist the very best of luck in this golden anniversary year.”
The story of Britain in Bloom began in 1964 when the tourist board wanted a way to market the country through floral displays. Since the RHS took over as the organising body in 2001, the focus of the campaign has widened to include helping the environment, strengthening communities and inspiring more people to get involved.
Although the campaign runs all year round, the run-up to the judges’ tour is a time when communities throughout the UK unite and redouble their efforts.