Six of the best

Members of Morpeth in Bloom group including Morpeth Mayor Phil Taylor (back right), Les English-Morpeth Chamber of Trade (back left) and David Tomlin from Heighley Gate Garden Centre celebrate winning Best Town in the Northumbria in Bloom Awards for the sixth year running with a photocall at the Town Hall.
Members of Morpeth in Bloom group including Morpeth Mayor Phil Taylor (back right), Les English-Morpeth Chamber of Trade (back left) and David Tomlin from Heighley Gate Garden Centre celebrate winning Best Town in the Northumbria in Bloom Awards for the sixth year running with a photocall at the Town Hall.

MORPETH’S flower power has achieved the gold standard for the sixth year in a row.

And there was plenty of silverware to celebrate as it also won the Northumbria in Bloom Best Town award and the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade retained the Best Shopping Precinct or Retail Park title.

Rutherfords of Morpeth received the Gladys Watson Trophy for the best individual commercial effort.

Ponteland earned a Silver Gilt in the Small Town section and residents, businesses, groups and clubs in both towns also received awards.

Morpeth Mayor Phil Taylor, who attended Tuesday’s ceremony at Saltburn in Teesside, said: “It always feels great to win the gold and Best Town award and we deserved it after all the hard work everyone put in this year.

“The town has looked wonderful this summer and we’ve had a lot of support from residents who have done some beautiful displays in their gardens.”

The four main organisations involved in the bloom bid are Morpeth Town Council, the Chamber of Trade, Northumberland County Council and Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre.

Raymond Dixon supplied plants and flowers for commercial areas of the town centre in addition to his usual work in Sanderson Arcade.

Les English is stepping down from leading the chamber’s contributions towards the competition after many years in the role, which involves putting up hanging baskets outside shops and tidying up.

He said: “I’m delighted to go out on a high as this year was the best entry we’ve ever done.

“The flower displays, including their colours and arrangements, were first class and the only thing that could make it slightly better is getting a few more of the big stores in Bridge Street on board.

“The people involved in future bids will need to use begonias as much as possible because they were very bright and vibrant. I have enjoyed doing the job and being part of a great team effort.”

Of Rutherfords’ success, he said: “Richard Rutherford is a great asset to us because he helps to fill Bridge Street very well and thinks hard about what to put in the magnificent displays.”

Other accolades for Morpeth included a Gold award for the KEVI Gnomes, who have done work in the Rotary Garden as well as on the school site, and a Gold for Betty Greener for her efforts to maintain the displays at Morpeth Railway Station.

The Sun Inn received a Silver Gilt and Heighley Gate employee Ethel Richardson got a special award in the Contribution by a Salaried Person section.

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Morpeth Town Council Clerk Gillian Turner said: “We’re grateful to the many community groups who rally to the cause, which include the scouts, schools, Friends of Carlisle Park, the Millennium Green, and the allotment associations.

“The Morpeth and District Soroptimists did a lovely double helix display and the Morpeth Clock Tower Bellringers even did a floral peal when the judges came.

“The main reason for doing all this is to make Morpeth a lovely town to live in and it’s an added bonus that it attracts many visitors as well.”

In Ponteland, its Bowling and Tennis Club received a Silver Gilt, Athol House won Silver and The Diamond Inn got a Bronze award after entering for the first time.

The town council’s Northumbria in Bloom Committee Chairman Joyce Butcher said: “This is the third time we have received a Silver Gilt and we received top marks for everything we did in our area.

“Everyone at the council and our contractors do a superb job and the floral displays look better every year.

“The increase in sponsorship was mentioned in the report, but the judges also said that we need more voluntary helpers to get the Gold award.

“A special mention must go to 75-year-old Mary Short, who did a beautiful display at Athol House. Hopefully, she will get some support next year.”