Morpeth is looking at its blooming best once again as the team aim to try to win a regional title for an amazing nine years in a row.
The Northumbria in Bloom judges saw a range of fabulous floral displays and green projects on Monday, including gardens, planters and wildlife areas, during their tour.
In September last year, Morpeth received the Best Town accolade for the eighth year in succession and yet another Gold, as well as a number of other awards.
It got even better a month later when, after coming very close on four occasions in previous years, it won the RHS Britain in Bloom Best Town crown, along with the Gold standard. In addition, Sanderson Arcade and the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade were presented with the Commercial Award and Morpeth picked up the Young People’s Award.
The big community effort has been maintained in 2014 and officials are hopeful that more success can be achieved. Morpeth Town Council, Northumberland County Council, the Chamber of Trade and Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre are the four main partners. The two judges were shown towers and planters full of plants and flowers in Bridge Street, Newgate Street and the Market Place, the Rotary Garden, the Millennium Green, Carlisle Park, St Mary’s Refuge, Mafeking Park and Deuchar Park.
Town-council clerk Gillian Turner said: “Everyone involved has once again put in a lot of effort and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we will do well at the awards ceremony. The weather in recent weeks has really helped to nurture the flowers. Although we were complaining about the heavy rain on Sunday morning when we were doing the litter pick, it was good for the grass and some of the plants.
“It’s great that so many organisations and volunteers are involved and key to our success is that we all work together and no one tries to outdo each other. Lots of young people are doing schemes to help the environment and groups of pupils from Abbeyfields First School and King Edward VI (High) School met with the judges to talk about what they have been doing.
“As well as our main sites, we have quite a few quirky places and features that add something extra to our bloom entry. For example, there are currently nine sheep in Carlisle Park and they performed on cue for the judges.”
The bus station, Sanderson Arcade, the headquarters of the Northumberland County Blind Association in Low Stanners, Stobhill roundabout, Castle Square and the headquarters of the MS Research and Relief Fund in Stobhill were among the other places included on the tour of the town.
It also included High Stanners and Oldgate Bridge, where River Warden Brian Parker explained the work he does, which includes looking after wildlife on the river.
The two judges were Ron McParlin and Liz Lazenby, who said: “The team in Morpeth has put in a lot of hard work and the baskets and planters and wonderful. The streets are clean and tidy and it’s good to see many businesses with floral displays.”
Mr McParlin added: “Having lots of flower features in a town centre makes a big difference and they encourage people passing through to stop and have a look around the town.
“The baskets in Sanderson Arcade are the best I have seen in a long time – they are very well managed.”