Oakham will be going for gold in Britain in Bloom awards

From left, chairman Maureen Dodds, gardening co-ordinator Teresa Thompson and vice-chairman Derek Bilby''Photo: SM270911-107js
From left, chairman Maureen Dodds, gardening co-ordinator Teresa Thompson and vice-chairman Derek Bilby''Photo: SM270911-107js
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A TEAM of volunteers who work tirelessly to make a town bloom say they will work hard over the next two years and go for gold.

Oakham was given a silver gilt in the Britain in Bloom awards, which were held in Fife, Scotland, on Sunday.

Silver gilt is the highest award the town has ever received and it is the second time it has been awarded it in the national competition.

They were nominated for the award after winning East Midlands in Bloom last year.

Oakham lost out to Ruskington in West Sussex in the finals.

Oakham in Bloom chairman Maureen Dodds and vice-chairman Derek Bilby were at the awards ceremony and accepted it on behalf of the whole Oakham community.

Mrs Dodds, of Ranksborough Hall, Langham, said: “It has been a fantastic experience being involved in the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom campaign this year and we have learnt a lot.

“Being nominated to enter the national finals was the result of many hours of work over the last 12 months by all involved – school children, volunteers, businesses and councils – indeed the whole community and I would like to thank them all for their efforts.

“Without their support and encouragement we would not have been in the national finals at all.

“We are returning to Oakham to continue our work on horticultural projects, protecting our environment and building an even greater community spirit in the town over the coming years.”

Community spirit was one of the things the judges picked up on when they visited the town.

Chairman of the judging panel Roger Burnett said: “My fellow judges and I noticed this year that many communities are facing even greater challenges than ever before because of financial conditions, political changes, civil unrest and that’s not even to mention the unpredictable British weather.

“But we are extremely pleased to report how we have seen many communities using Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom as a solution.”

Mrs Dodds and Mr Bilby were given one-to-one feedback from the judges after the award ceremony.

Mr Bilby of Harborough Close, Whissendine, said: “We didn’t take them to an allotment site which they would have liked to have seen and we need to improve on our planting for next time.

“We’ll aim for gold in another couple of years.”

Uppingham also held a celebration at the weekend to mark its victory in the East Midlands in Bloom competition.

The Falcon Hotel in High Street East was packed with well wishers for the celebration and cup presentation.