It’s gold! Market Harborough scooped a prestigious gold award at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain In Bloom Awards last night (Friday).
The town, which represented the East Midlands region, was one of only ten from across the UK chosen to compete in the Large Town category of the awards.
Although the town did not win the category award (which went to Coleraine in County Londonderry) - or indeed the overall award (which was won by Ahoghill in Ulster), the Market Harborough in Bloom Volunteers (MHiBV) said the gold medal was a fantastic result.
A spokesman for Britain in Bloom said: “Market Harborough’s medal, the highest available, confirms its position as one of the greenest and most beautiful large towns in the country.”
Margaret Richards coordinator of Market Harborough in Bloom Volunteers (MHiBV) said: “The volunteers are delighted with another fantastic result.
“We are proud of our achievements and proud of our town and this award recognises the dedication and creativity of our volunteers.
“’Greening up’ and making the most of our environment is so important in a large town like Market Harborough and the impact that this has on people’s general feeling of wellbeing should not be underestimated in improving the area for residents, visitors and businesses in our town.”
Chairman of the Market Harborough in Bloom Volunteers Ken Hook said: “We are delighted to receive this award on behalf of MHiBV.
“We have a fantastic group of volunteers, sponsors and support from local businesses, the Harborough District Council and County Council and their staff without their support it would not be possible to achieve what we have done this year. Well done to everyone.”
The event was hosted by garden designer and BBC gardening expert Chris Beardshaw.
Teams of RHS judges travelled the length and breadth of the country to see the 72 finalists’ Bloom campaigns to determine who would lift the top prizes.
Each finalist was assessed against three key criteria: community participation, environmental responsibility and of course, horticultural achievement.
Chairman of the UK Judging Panel, Roger Burnett said: “This has been a truly outstanding year for Britain in Bloom with local communities devoting tremendous amounts of time and effort into greening grey areas and sharing the many health and social benefits of horticulture.
“The judges were very impressed by the way communities refused to let the many challenges they faced hold them back.
“The finalists’ desire and determination to make their environment as green and pleasant as possible was truly humbling.
“We as judges are privileged to have a front row seat to see Britain in Bloom volunteers change the lives of thousands through their work. And it’s fitting that their efforts are recognised and celebrated.”
The 72 Britain in Bloom finalists were vying for Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver or Bronze medals, category winner awards and discretionary awards for excellence.