Students conjure up second world war spirit to storm to victory at Anglia in Bloom Awards

Hunstanton, Heacham, South Wootton and Wisbech were also among the champions honoured at this year's Anglia in Bloom Awards revealed today at a special ceremony in St Ives

Students at a West Norfolk school dug their way to victory in this year's Anglia in Bloom competition. The second world war themed garden at South Wootton Junior School stormed to victory in the Grow Your Own category beating competition from Acle allotments, St Margaret's Road allotments in Lowestoft and the allotments in Filby.

The efforts by pupils at the school, near King's Lynn, also helped South Wootton in Bloom scoop gold in the small town cateogy. Produce grown in the garden this year included beetroot, onions, red lettuce, French beans, leeks, sweetcorn and carrots.

Andrew King, headteacher, said: 'It's fantastic to win this award for the school and for the in Bloom campaign here in South Wootton.

'This project started four years ago after we were approached by South Wootton in Bloom and asked if we could get people from the local community to come in and help the children grown their own produce.

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'We have Nolan Mills, Tracey Cornwell, David Price and Karin Price who come in twice a week, every week to work with different groups of children and teach them how to tend the garden, dig ground out and reap the produce.

'It has always been a second world war themed garden because it helps the children in their history lessons when they are learning about the second world war and why people dug up their gardens to grow their own food.

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'It is now a sustainable project because the students sell the produce to parents and staff and the funds raised are reinvested into the project.

'Going forward it would be great to get other people involved in this project to help it grow further.'

Other towns and villages in West Norfolk and the Fens were celebrating yesterday after scooping top class horticultural honours at the Anglia in Bloom awards.

Hunstanton was named the overall winner in the coastal category and was awarded a gold award, as well as gaining the accolade of Best Local Authority Floral Display for the Esplanade Gardens.

Wisbech was another of the big winners this year winning gold for the fifth consecutive year and winning the large town category.

Meanwhile King's Lynn was awarded its first gold award since entering the competition in 2006 with Heacham also scooping gold and received an award for the best commercial area for its landscaping at The Old Station.

And the sparkling results continued with Downham Market gaining a silver gilt award and Ringstead receiving a silver award.

Brian Massingham, chairman of Wisbech in Bloom committee, said: 'Our success in recent years is all down to brilliant team effort and fantastic community support. We are always coming up with fresh ideas and we've still got plenty more to help us going forward.'

He later added: 'We had quite a bit of vandalism this year but we never gave up and vowed not to let the vandals beat us and they haven't because we have won gold.'

Elizabeth Watson, chairman of the Hunstanton in Bloom committee, said: 'It's great to be named the coastal category winner for the second year in a row and a fantastic reward for everyone's hard work, in what has been a challenging year.

'We began the season with a hosepipe ban and then soon found that the challenge of keeping the plants watered was replaced with the problems presented by saturated ground, which made it difficult to plant and maintain the gardens.

'In the end the displays in the Esplanade Gardens, with the fantastic new rose beds, were the best they've ever been, so it's really satisfying to also be awarded the Best Local Authority Floral Display Award.

'The wild flowers, along the A149, were a magnificent welcome to the town and attracted favourable comments from residents and visitors, as well as from the judges.

'The community really pulled together and their hard work was greatly appreciated. Our volunteers turned up whatever the weather and did a terrific job in preparing to show Hunstanton at its very best – I'm so proud of them all.'

Elizabeth Nockolds, chairman of the King's Lynn in Bloom committee, said: 'We are absolutely delighted to gain gold for the first time this year – it is really a testament to everyone's hard work and enthusiasm.

'I've received lots of positive comments and think that the parks have given hours of pleasure to residents and visitors.

'The overall results for the borough as a whole are fantastic and I am extremely proud of everyone's efforts and achievements.'

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