Ahoghill’s community gardeners are celebrating a gold medal in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom National Awards 2013.
Ulster finalists picked-up four RHS Gold Medals and an RHS Silver Medal.
Ahoghill were awarded Gold and came top of the Small Town category. Scarva also won Gold and came top of the Small Village category.
Bangor was awarded a Gold in the Coastal (more than 12,000 population) category and Derry City won Gold in the Small City category. Hillsborough were celebrating a Silver Gilt in the Large Village category and RHS Britain in Bloom volunteer, Roy Hanna was recognised for his commitment to community gardening activities in Hillsborough when he received an RHS Community Champion Award.*
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: “The image that most people have of RHS Britain in Bloom is of pretty hanging baskets and colourful bedding displays but this is a far cry from what the campaign is really about. Our finalists were nominated to represent their region or nation for a range of reasons. For example, awards were given out in recognition of innovative environmental practices, such as efforts to help native wildlife, for educating young people in horticulture, engaging with businesses and for strengthening communities. In reality every finalist is a winner no matter what medal they get so well done all the Ulster finalists. It was a true pleasure to visit such wonderful places.”
Roger Burnett led a team of fourteen volunteer judges who toured the UK in pairs at the end of July and early August visiting each of the 77 finalists** who were picked from more than 1000. They marked against three central criteria - horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
A survey conducted earlier this year found that more than 20,000 volunteers spent 100,000 hours of their spare time getting their respective communities into the finals of RHS Britain in Bloom. Collectively they manage 90,000 acres of public space and planted more than 2,000,000 plants over the last year.
Lytham, in Lancashire, was awarded the ultimate community gardening prize winning the Champion of Champions 2013 award, meaning the town is arguably the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful location in Britain.