Bloom team proves its flower power again

The triumphant Morpeth Bloom team seen at Morpeth Town Hll (left to right) Roger Ashmore from Morpeth Scouts, Terry Garnick-Northumberland County Council, Sheila Clark-Three Rivers Learning Trust,  Nigel Lawton and Ethel Richardson from Heighley Gate Garden Centre, Les English-Chamber of Trade, Mayor Joan Tebbutt and Gillian Turner-Town Clerk.'REF 1709138172
The triumphant Morpeth Bloom team seen at Morpeth Town Hll (left to right) Roger Ashmore from Morpeth Scouts, Terry Garnick-Northumberland County Council, Sheila Clark-Three Rivers Learning Trust, Nigel Lawton and Ethel Richardson from Heighley Gate Garden Centre, Les English-Chamber of Trade, Mayor Joan Tebbutt and Gillian Turner-Town Clerk.'REF 1709138172

IT’S super eight for Morpeth’s Bloom team with another Best Town triumph.

The town took the title in the Northumbria In Bloom awards this week for the eighth year in succession, claiming a coveted Gold medal in the process.

And there was more to celebrate when the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and Sanderson Arcade also reached the Gold standard and took the award for Best Shopping Precinct, Retail Park or Chamber of Trade.

Abbeyfields First School was told in July that it had won the Land of the Prince Bishops Trophy for the most points in the Growing Together school category, also achieving Gold, and pupils attended the ceremony in Sunderland this week to collect their prize.

The victories are all the more impressive as a record number of Gold medals have been awarded this year, with more than 100 entries reaching the standard across the region. Turn to Page 6

Northumbria In Bloom Chairman Eileen Burn said: “Despite the seemingly never-ending winter and spring, this has been a summer of triumph — not only the triumph of sunshine and warm temperatures, but the triumph of hard-working volunteers in communities in co-operation with their local councils.”

Morpeth, whose entry is led by Morpeth Town Council, the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade, Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre and Northumberland County Council with the help of numerous organisations and individuals, achieved 97 per cent in overall marks and 100 per cent for community involvement.

Now organisers are hoping to repeat the success in the Britain In Bloom awards, which will be announced at a ceremony in Cleethorpes next month.

Morpeth Town Council Clerk Gillian Turner said: “We are thrilled. It was absolutely brilliant to win Northumbria In Bloom for the eighth year running. It just shows that the town has maintained its standards. Overall, we got 97 per cent so we couldn’t have done much more and that high level is down to the commitment of the people of the town. Community involvement is our strongest point of all.

“We did maintain our record for having the most people on the stage for the presentation. We had about 12 people there and the children from Abbeyfields came onto the stage as well, which was lovely. They were so proud and every time Morpeth was mentioned they were cheering.

“Now we are keeping our fingers crossed for Britain In Bloom.”

Les English, who is retiring from the Bloom team after leading the chamber of trade’s effort for the past 17 years, was equally delighted.

“It is a relief to win because we couldn’t very well go to the nationals if we hadn’t won the local competition, but we are absolutely delighted again,” he said.

“The town has been excellent this year. I don’t think we could do anything to improve it.

“I’ve enjoyed doing the Bloom work, but it is hard work and it’s time for somebody else to step in now. I’m going out on a high, but the icing on the cake would be to win the national title.”

Sanderson Arcade Manager Medi Parry said: “The flowers in the arcade have been really good this year. We try to improve what we do year on year and our baskets were the biggest they have ever been.

“The theme for Britain In Bloom was edible plants so we grew seven different herbs in our area by the taxi rank and sold them with all money going to the Sick Children’s Trust. Our flowers were in the Suffragette colours because the Emily Davison centennial celebrations were such a big thing for Morpeth this year and it was important that we supported the town in those.

“It was nice to go along to the awards and was really lovely to win. The standard was so high and a lot of people were getting Gold awards so we have to make sure we stay one step ahead.”

Abbeyfields First School teacher Jan Curry was pleased that pupils had played their part in the success.

She said: “We had a herb area, an allotment and we grew various vegetables. We feel really happy that we were part of it all to help get Morpeth recognised.

“It was really nice at the ceremony because the children got their own award for the school and then went on stage with the Morpeth team as part of the award-winning town. They thought that was great.”

Fellow teacher Helen Briggs added: “The Northumbria In Bloom judges were very impressed with what we had done and said they hadn’t seen anything like it. We’re also hoping to help the town in the Britain In Bloom awards because when the judges came out last month they were really impressed with what the children had done.”