Borough blooming great for judges

The North West in Bloom judges in Believe Square with Wigan Borough in Bloom co-ordinator Nick Burdekin (second left), Coun Kevin Anderson (centre) and Wigan Council assistant director for infrastructure Mark Tilley (right)

The North West in Bloom judges in Believe Square with Wigan Borough in Bloom co-ordinator Nick Burdekin (second left), Coun Kevin Anderson (centre) and Wigan Council assistant director for infrastructure Mark Tilley (right)

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EXPERT judges are currently touring the borough’s green spaces to see if Wigan community groups can add to their In Bloom successes.

The panel from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) started its three-day visit to the borough to assess the exhibits for North West in Bloom yesterday.

The first day of judging saw landmarks including Believe Square and Mesnes Park receive the attention of the eagle-eyed judges.

Altogether around 30 community groups and organisations will have their displays and areas scrutinised for the quality of their planting, their eco-friendly schemes and the work done to involve residents in green-fingered efforts to improve the neighbourhood.

Coun Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council cabinet member for environment, said: “Wigan Borough In Bloom is a wonderful scheme which promotes local pride and helps our communities look wonderful throughout the year.

“The volunteers who dedicate hours to In Bloom deserve a great deal of appreciation and thanks.

“They help transform communities and make a huge difference to raising local pride.”

The borough has previously enjoyed huge success in North West in Bloom, with regular hauls of more than 20 awards, while community groups in Shevington and Howe Bridge have made it through to the national Britain in Bloom final.

Groups ranging from Mosley Common in the east of the borough to Ashton and Standish in the west hope to continue that proud record and impress the judges.

Today’s tour will see the RHS experts visit projects including Cansfield Estate in Bloom in Ashton, which has installed displays including more than 200 identical hanging baskets, 35 plots and six planters .

Volunteer Sylvia Wilkinson said: “It’s a hectic time but it is worth it. It’s wonderful when we get the estate all cleaned up and looking nice. It’s like the Queen’s coming.

“There’s a knock-on effect. People see what’s happening and they join in and do their bit.”

The Cansfield estate group has been given Outstanding status by the RHS judges in the past two years and works with Wigan and Leigh Homes and pupils from Cansfield High School.

In Bloom volunteers carry out tasks in their communities including planting flowers, improving the environment and running events such as litter picks to make the local area a clean and pleasant place to live.

Many groups also host fund-raising community activities, with proceeds being ploughed back into neighbourhood improvements such as floral displays, planters, public artwork, bins and other objects for the streets such as benches. As well as community groups the judges will be visiting residents’ groups in sheltered housing and accommodation, allotments and community 
gardens.

The judging in Wigan borough finishes tomorrow and the North West in Bloom prizes will be handed out at a ceremony in Southport at the end of October.