Ahoghill is blooming ready for judging

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Ahoghill’s green-fingered volunteers have been busy putting the finishing touches to their Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom campaign in preparation for the judges’ imminent arrival on Thursday, August 7.

James Perry of Ahoghill in Bloom says: “Everyone involved in Ahoghill in Bloom are really looking forward to the visit by the judges. There is a great sense of anticipation and excitement throughout the community. We hope that the judges will touch the spirit and feel very welcome in Ahoghill.”

When they arrive in the village, RHS judges Mark Wasilewski and Brendan Mowforth will meet community representatives and go on a tour of local projects, assessing In Bloom campaigns against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.

Communities hope to receive a Bronze, Silver, Silver-Gilt or Gold award, depending on their level of achievement.

Ahoghill is in the Champion of Champions category of the competition, alongside City of London, Glenrothes, Shrewsbury and Woolton (Liverpool).

For one year only Jim Buttress, BBC Great Allotment Challenge Judge and former head judge of RHS Britain In Bloom returns to the panel.

Along with his fellow judges, Jim will be inspecting everything from the usual bedding displays to local recycling initiatives as well as natural habitats and conservation areas.

Judges will also be taking sustainable practices and inventive schemes to raise money to fund projects into account.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Regional Development said: “The groups that have made it to the final stages represent the very best in community gardening and it is their passion and community spirit that have got them this far. I wish all the finalists the very best of luck and urge more people to get involved in the campaign so that we can continue to grow on the success of the last 50 years.”

Last summer, 71 locations were selected to represent their region/nation in this year’s final, each hoping to score top marks and be announced category winner at the awards ceremony in Bristol on October 16.