A blooming brilliant night

Residents from Shevington and District in Bloom working on flowerbed displays
Residents from Shevington and District in Bloom working on flowerbed displays

WIGAN enjoyed a record-breaking couple of nights at North West in Bloom, taking the biggest prize of all and scooping an incredible total of 23 awards.

The borough surpassed last year’s haul of 17 prizes, including taking top spot in the Large Metropolitan Area category with a Gold award, just weeks after being given Silver Gilt in the national Britain in Bloom competition.

Howe Bridge also took a Gold award as it was named winner of the Large Town category, while there were silver gilt prizes for Standish and Shevington at the awards ceremonies in Southport.

In addition to the competitive categories, green-fingered and eco-minded communities, schools and residents’ groups from across the borough saw their hard work on their particular corners of the borough pay off as Wigan swept the boards.

There were no fewer than five awards for outstanding neighbourhoods dished out to projects from Wigan, including the community garden at Town Green which won a special discretionary award from the national judges, and seven entrants took home level four awards for thriving neighbourhoods.

Damian Jenkinson, Wigan Borough in Bloom co-ordinator, said: “These results are brilliant. Every year we do better and better in the finals but to come away with 23 awards is just incredible.

“Wigan Borough in Bloom is a community project. It is the people of the borough who have made this success possible.

“It’s their hard work and dedication to making where they live look and feel better that’s paid off so spectacularly. I’m so proud of all they have achieved.”

The North West in Bloom competition is organised, like its national counterpart, by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and sees teams of expert, eagle-eyed judges visiting communities across the region to scrutinise their green efforts.

The criteria which projects were marked on included community involvement and participation, landscape improvement and presentation.

The awards are the second year in a row that Wigan has enjoyed high levels of success at the North West awards, after taking its first overall Gold award last year.

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for the environment and communities, said: “Coming so soon after our national success, this just underlines the borough’s green credentials.

“In Bloom is a great showcase for this area and our success in the scheme is changing people’s perceptions of the borough. It’s a value-for-money way of making our environments better places to live. It also gets people into the outdoors and encourages residents to take ownership of where they live. “Our parks, town and village centres and green spaces have been looking fantastic and it’s wonderful to get recognition from the RHS for the work people have been doing.”

A special reception for all the volunteers will be hosted by the Mayor later this year.