The best blooming town in Britain - that’s what a Northumberland community was celebrating yesterday.
At the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom 2013 finals, Morpeth lifted Best Town title and a gold award.
And the RHS Britain in Bloom Commercial Award which is presented for best environmental and horticultural contribution from business, retail or corporate interests, went to the town’s Sanderson Arcade and bus station.
Morpeth also won the RHS Britain in Bloom Young People’s Award for involving young people from across the community in the most effective way.
Gillian Turner, clerk to Morpeth Town Council who was at the award ceremony, said that the accolades were inspirational for townspeople, especially after the way the community had been hit by flooding episodes.
Morpeth has contested Britain Bloom on four previous occasions but has missed out on gold after being presented with silver gilt awards,
Gillian said: “Although a runner-up in previous years, to be the winner of the town category this year is of great significance. Morpeth is up there with Britain’s best.
“Our philosophy of respect for the environment and nature, friendship with our partners, supporters and helpers, and excellence in what we hope to achieve sums up what being In Bloom means for Morpeth and has enabled us to be winners in our regional Northumbria in Bloom competition over the last nine years. “Everyone rallies to take part in cleans-ups, planting and care of our beautiful floral displays, public places and allotments. ‘If it can grow, we want to know’ is our philosophy.
“This much-coveted title and award could not have come at a more welcome and inspirational time. Five years ago we were hit with severe flooding and that determination by everyone to pull together and keep our objective to overcome has given us back our beautiful town.”
RHS judges said: “Northumbria can be proud of Morpeth and their achievements in the 2013 Britain in Bloom campaign.
“A sustained campaign over many years has yielded consistent success.”
The main bloom partners in Morpeth are the town council, Northumberland County Council, the town’s Chamber of Trade and Heighley Gate garden centre.
Gillian said: “We have had some really strong projects this year.”
These include 11 sheep being used to graze lawns at the town’s Carlisle Park and the provision of new footpaths in Bluebell Wood on the outskirts of the community.
Schools have also been heavily involved, with Abbeyfield First School creating a football team of scarecrows with herbs growing from their heads and King Edward VI School working with shops to come up with recipe cards for produce the pupils had grown.
Town centre businesses sponsored 300 hanging baskets and Heighley Gate provided flower towers.
Feature gardens included the Millennium Garden in Old Bakehouse Yard, the Rotary Garden and Blind Association Garden.