MORPETH’S Bloom team has done it at last.
For the last eight years the team has won the Best Town title in Northumbria In Bloom.
On Saturday night came the news that it had finally claimed the RHS Britain In Bloom crown, picking up a rare Gold medal in the process.
It was the town’s fifth attempt at the national honours, but it was certainly Morpeth’s year as it took another two surprise awards at the ceremony in Cleethorpes.
Sanderson Arcade and the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade were presented with the Commercial Award for the best environmental and horticultural contribution by businesses.
Morpeth also won the Young People’s Award for involving youngsters in the most effective way.
Morpeth Town Council Clerk Gillian Turner said: “It is brilliant, everybody is just so pleased. This was our fifth attempt at the final. We have won four Silver Gilt medals previously so it is wonderful to finally get the Gold, and to win the entire category is amazing.
“We were in a really strong group of finalists, with the likes of the City of London whose budget is in excess of £1million for floral displays.”
Dozens of community groups and individuals are involved in the Bloom entry, with Morpeth Town Council, Northumberland County Council, the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and Heighley Gate Garden Centre the four main partners. As well as flower, baskets, tubs and bed displays, organisers have to show other environmental work, which this year included footpath improvements in Bluebell Woods, sheep being introduced as grass-cutters to Ha’ Hill and colourful boards placed on the vacant Queen’s Head Hotel.
Schools, scouts and Northumberland County Blind Association took up the edible Britain theme by growing fruit and vegetables, and Sanderson Arcade grew and sold herbs to raise funds for The Sick Children’s Trust.
Morpeth reached the Gold standard for horticultural achievement, Silver Gilt for environmental responsibility and Gold for community participation to claim a Gold medal overall.
Northumberland County Council Neighbourhood Environmental Action Team Manager Terry Garnick said: “It is a fantastic reward for the hard work of the whole team. It’s long overdue. There is such a high standard in Morpeth because of the community input.”
Heighley Gate Nursery Manager Nigel Lawton said: “It is nice for us to be involved in the town and we think it is very important. Many of the plants are grown at Heighley Gate and we do watering and planting. It’s great that we are part of winning the Gold.”
Praise for Morpeth’s achievement has come from all quarters.
Morpeth Mayor Joan Tebbutt said: “It is just the loveliest thing that could happen for this town. To get an award for the work with young people is the bit I find the most rewarding because the schools have been absolutely tremendous.”
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery added: “Morpeth has been knocking on the door of major national honours for a number of years and I am not surprised at the news of its success because the town looked magnificent this year and Sanderson Arcade was a delight to walk through.
“Everyone has to be congratulated because so many people contribute to the town looking the way it does each spring and summer. I just hope Morpeth now reaps the rewards of many more people visiting the town.”
A spokesman for RHS Britain In Bloom said: “Northumbria can be proud of Morpeth and its achievements in the 2013 Britain In Bloom campaign. A sustained campaign over many years has yielded consistent success and this year’s achievements can only serve to sustain the community, business and the landscape in this beautiful area of the country.”