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Belper took gold in the large town section and Littleover was awarded silver in the urban community category.
The pair’s success follows on from success in the East Midlands competition earlier this year, when Belper scooped gold and category winner in the large town category and Littleover was again awarded silver in the urban community category.
(Image: Liz Goulds)
But their inclusion in the Royal Horticultural Society’s national final came after success in the 2016 East Midlands competition also. It was the first time that Littleover had made it to the final. Belper made it to the final in 2014.
Belper chose water as its theme for this year’s floral displays in the town and the judges were wowed by the “magnificent” floral water wheel, the Memorial Gardens and the group’s “infectious enthusiasm”.
Town councillor John Nelson was also rewarded with a community champion award for being the driving force behind Belper’s Bloom campaign and his “dedication and determination to do the best for his town”.
Belper town clerk Liz Page said: “It really brings the community together. We have a huge amount of groups that work independently and together to improve the town and that has a big impact on the community. The feedback our volunteers get is incredible, people just feel so proud about living here.”
Altogether, 78 towns and villages made it through to the national final in Llandudno, including six from the East Midlands. The overall champion of champions was Elswick in Lancashire.
Depending on the standard reached, a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal is awarded, with a winner in each category and discretionary awards for achieving excellence in particular fields.
Janette Jackson, chairwoman of Littleover In Bloom, said: “We have entered East Midlands in Bloom for quite a number of years but this is the first time we have made the finals for Britain in Bloom. We have worked really hard and this year we had a good few volunteers and involved some of the local schools.
“Being involved in the competition is about taking pride in where we live and getting the community together. We really hope to make it a better place to live and work.”
Britain in Bloom is now in its 53rd year and, for the first time, a new BBC Two series following the quintessentially British competition is set to air in spring 2018 and it is hoped will include the local finalists.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “This year, the standard was as high as ever but what really stood out was the creativity and ingenuity that groups showed in tackling the specific challenges of their particular areas, whether that be lack of funding, local social issues or tricky site conditions.”