Three Norfolk Communities scoop silver gilt award at RHS Britain in Bloom awards

Blooms in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Filby are officially among the best in the country after scooping silver gilt accolades in the national horticultural awards.

The Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom Awards took place yesterday evening in Guernsey, when all three communities were awarded a silver gilt award.

Norwich was among five finalists in the city category which was won by Oldham, which was also given a silver gilt award.

Great Yarmouth was up for the award for coastal communities over 12,000 people and, although missing out to winner Herne Bay in the South East, also picked up a silver gilt.

Nearby Filby got the accolade having been one of five finalists in the village category, which was won by Spofforth in Yorkshire.


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Norwich's national award came as the city was already basking in the glory of winning best city and five other honours in the recent Anglia in Bloom Awards.

After receiving the news late on Saturday, chairman Terry Bane said: 'I am delighted that Norwich achieved and was awarded the very high standard of silver gilt in the RHS Britain in Bloom 2012 competition. It's all down to teamwork and the many individuals, groups, organisations, schools and businesses in Norwich that take great interest and care for the environment making Norwich a nice place to live, work and visit. The Friends of Norwich in Bloom congratulate everyone who has helped this fantastic achievement.'

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Norwich councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton, of the Friends of Norwich in Bloom, said: 'We are very proud of all of the groups that have won this prestigious award for Norwich, we have some fantastic groups that really make the In Bloom initiative work and next year we have many more new groups to bring on board. It is a wonderful feeling to be involved in such a final but without a doubt it is the people who make Norwich the fine city that it is.'

There were more awards for the city when Jo and Reg Chiddick were recognised as part of the RHS's It's Your Neighbourhood Awards.

The pair were presented with a certificate to mark the work they do with Sally Clarke and the volunteers in the St Stephens Church ground. Mr Bane described it as 'a very valuable piece of green space in the heart of the city and a heavenly garden that so many people and wildlife benefit from through the tremendous work of the volunteers'.

Huntingon, Halstead and Moor, near Huntingham, also won accolades for the Anglia region after making it to the finals.

Mr Bane added: 'I would also like to congratulate our bloom colleagues and local neighbours Filby and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and Halstead, Huntingdon and Oxmoor in the Anglia region on their marvellous achievements at Britain in Bloom this year.'

RHS Britain in Bloom is the biggest voluntary campaign in the UK and works to improve people's lives through community gardening.

More than 1,200 UK communities participate each year in the campaign, and just 72 finalists were chosen to represent their area in the national awards where communities are marked in three areas: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

As previously reported, when chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK judging panel Roger Burnett visited Norwich in the summer he said he was impressed with the city's sense of community and the sympathetic blending of Norwich's historic buildings with new developments.

At the time he said: 'It is my second tour of Norwich and it has really been a pleasure to look around again. What shines through in Norwich is the community, and how the community are working in partnership with the local authority to help maintain the environment.

'What comes through in Norwich is the vast array of heritage the city has got, and how well that is married with the new developments, like the Marks and Spencer building which is next to the church [St Stephen's Church].'

His fellow judge Sharon Thomas added that she was also impressed with the hidden gems in the city like the Plantation Gardens.

During their tour of the city this summer, the Friends of Norwich in Bloom took the two national judges to see a vast array of the city's beautiful displays. Starting at the City of Norwich School, they were taken to see the colourful floral displays adorning many of the city's streets and roundabouts, and among the places they stopped were the Ipswich Road Ancient Hedge Project, City College Norwich, the Plantation Gardens, in Earlham Road, Grapes Hill Community Gardens, the City Hall and the Memorial Gardens, St Stephens Church, the Assembly House, the Castle Gardens, Norwich Cathedral, the Adam and Eve pub, Mousehold Heath and Norwich Prison.

In 2008 the city won the urban regeneration category in the RHS Britain in Bloom Awards.

At this year's Anglia in Bloom Awards in September, as well as Norwich winning best city (with up to 200,000 residents), the city's Mancroft Ward (including The Lanes) also won the urban community and most improved categories, while the University of East Anglia's broad and marsh won the biodiversity award.

Chapelfield Gardens was named the best public open space, and the Grapes Hill Community Garden was hailed the best community project.

• For more about the Friends of Norwich in Bloom visit www.norwichinbloom.co.uk

• Are you involved in a new heritage project in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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