Wisbech wins gold in Britain In Bloom contest

Britain In Bloom Winners Wisbech Parks and Open Spaces. Pictured Organisers and volunteers. ANL-161017-162609009

Britain In Bloom Winners Wisbech Parks and Open Spaces. Pictured Organisers and volunteers. ANL-161017-162609009

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Wisbech confirmed its position as one of the greenest and most beautiful towns in the country when it scooped a coveted gold medal in the Britain In Bloom awards.

Just weeks after collecting its ninth consecutive gold award in the regional Anglia In Bloom contest, the town proved it was the ultimate cream of the crop by winning its first gold at nationwide level.

Bob Ollier (left) and Brian Massingham (right) with Jon Wheatley, a Royal Horticultural Society Council member and one of the judges.

Bob Ollier (left) and Brian Massingham (right) with Jon Wheatley, a Royal Horticultural Society Council member and one of the judges.

Wisbech took the crown in the ‘large town’ category – described as the toughest group in the competition. The town was one of only 10 from across the UK chosen to compete in the large town category.

Brian Massingham, chairman of Wisbech In Bloom, and Bob Ollier, Fenland Council’s parks and open spaces manager, were presented with the award at the ceremony in Birmingham on Friday night.

Mr Massingham said: “After all our hard work, to get such a fantastic result is absolutely incredible and it’s thanks to everyone. We all work together for the good of the town.

“Our volunteers have worked in partnership with the council to achieve this result but we could not do it without the support of local horticultural businesses, the town’s visitor attractions, community organisations and the generosity of sponsors.

“For a growing market town with many social problems this is an achievement to celebrate and build upon.”

Wisbech In Bloom’s Penny Stocks added: “This is unbelievable – to be part of the elite in such a strong category is incredible.”

The Royal Horticultural Society, which runs the awards, said the gold medal, its top accolade, confirmed Wisbech’s position as one of the greenest and most beautiful large towns in the country.

According to its judging criteria, a gold constitutes “an exceptionally high standard demonstrated throughout. A consistent approach that demonstrates best practice, continuing development and sustainable effort. Meets all of the judging criteria and scores very highly in every section of the marking sheet”.

Mr Ollier said: “I’ve waited eight years to bring a gold medal to Wisbech. The gold is extremely elusive. Even when Wisbech won the category in 2008, it was with a silver gilt.

“To win gold in the toughest group is a fantastic achievement. It shows an exceptionally high standard and reflects the terrific amount of work put in by everyone involved.

“There are three pillars to the award: horticultural excellence, environmental responsibility and community participation. The key is consistency in all three.”

Councillor Peter Murphy, the council’s Cabinet member responsible for the environment, said: “Very many congratulations to all the individuals and groups who’ve played their part, large and small, in this year’s Wisbech In Bloom campaign. It’s an absolutely tremendous result. Once again the town has done Fenland proud.”

The awards ceremony celebrates the huge contribution of 300,000 Bloom volunteers whose hard work and dedication help to transform neglected areas into greener, cleaner and more beautiful spaces for communities to enjoy.

Roger Burnett, chairman of the UK judging panel, said: “This has been a truly outstanding year for Britain in Bloom, with local communities devoting tremendous amounts of time and effort into greening grey areas and sharing the many health and social benefits of horticulture.”