Red geraniums against whitewashed walls have lent a Mediterranean air to Aylsham this summer - and the sight has earned honours for one of the town’s family-run businesses.

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Aylsham in Bloom has awarded top prize in its annual town-centre competition for commercial enterprises to GF White Butchers, on Red Lion Street.

The Whites also own buildings along adjoining Blofields Loke which are kept pristine white and decorated with colourful geranium-filled baskets and tubs, tended and watered by Peter White.

Aylsham in Bloom spokesman Sheila Merriman said the group was launched three years ago and the volunteer members’ aim was to make the town centre more attractive.

“Blickling Hall gets over 150,000 visitors a year and they account for much of the traffic going through Aylsham,” she said.

“If I’m driving through somewhere colourful and attractive, I’m much more likely to stop there for lunch, and to do some shopping, than in somewhere grey and uninteresting.”

Competition judge Thordis Fridriksson, host of BBC Radio Norfolk’s Garden Party, also awarded highly commended certificates to four other businesses: the Black Boys inn, Lavenders Blue florist; Market Place Restaurant and electrical retailer Postles.

Aylsham Heritage Centre received a special mention for an indoor paper sculpture, including real flowers, made by child visitors.

In-bloom members also plant and maintain tubs in the town centre and flower beds on Cawston Road and on the road to Blickling. Plants are grown on through the winter by children at Aylsham High School and Bure Valley School and older pupils help with spring planting.

Next year the committee hopes to spruce up the area at the junction of Burgh Road and Norwich Road, by providing tubs and having the town sign repainted.

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