Town goes for blooming glory

MORPETH will have another shot at national floral glory after being put forward for Britain in Bloom.

The town will lead the North East entries for the 2013 competition as a result of winning the best overall entry award at the 2012 Northumbria in Bloom ceremony in September.

It received a score of 98 per cent. Judges gave it high praise for its colourful and pretty displays, major community participation and dedication to perfection.

The four main partners – Morpeth Town Council, Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and Northumberland County Council – will hope to do even better in next year’s Britain in Bloom contest after being awarded a Silver Gilt in October.

The best town title went to Halstead in Anglia.

In reference to the different results at regional and UK level, county and town councillor Andrew Tebbutt said: “Quite frankly, I found the outcome of Britain in Bloom an insult to the hard work and effort that everyone involved put into the bid.

“Are we clear about the differences in criteria between the two competitions because I don’t want Morpeth to be humiliated by entering something that the judges don’t want us to win.”

The Britain in Bloom judges looked at three key criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility – and Coun Nic Best said it was his understanding that they gave greater weight to a sustainable approach to planting, which included shrubs and trees, than the Northumbria in Bloom judges.

But Morpeth Mayor, Coun Mark Horton, said he and others involved in the town’s entry spent half-an-hour with Britain in Bloom officials after the ceremony and they did not mention that particular aspect.

“I don’t feel that we were humiliated at the ceremony and I strongly believe we should be leading the entries from Northumbria in next year’s competition,” he added.

Morpeth Town Council Clerk Gillian Turner said: “It’s difficult to pinpoint what more we could have done for this year’s entry but those involved in the bid, including county council officers and Heighley Gate staff, have looked through the judges’ report in detail and will take it on board when making preparations for 2013.”

She added that some of the activities to mark the 100th anniversary of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison’s death will fit the criteria for both contests.