THERE were celebrations all round on Wednesday as the awards were presented from the East Midlands in Bloom competition.
Oakham won gold and was named the winner in the town category during the ceremony, which took place at Springfields Festival Gardens in Spalding.
Oakham also picked up a judges award for the floral displays around Oakham Library in Catmose Street which the Oakham in Bloom committee has improved the display by adding a peacock sculpture.
Chairman of the Oakham committee Maureen Dodds said the addition of the peacock had helped Oakham maintain its position on top.
She said: “We are absolutely over the moon and I believe the peacock made a wonderful impression with the judges. We will be presenting the judges’ award to the staff at the library and it will be on display there.” Despite regularly winning gold and featuring in the Britain in Bloom competition six times in the past, Maureen said the committee never expect to win.
She said: “There are always improvements that can be made and we have still got to look at the small details which we may not notice but the judges always pick up on.
“We always have to work hard and we never expect to win. We just hope we will.”
Joining Oakham at the same table during the presentations was the Uppingham in Bloom committee, which picked up a silver gilt for the second year running and was the winner in the small town category.
The community of Uppingham also received a special judges’ award and the Falcon Hotel in High Street East, Uppingham, was also mentioned for its beautiful garden.
Chairman of the Uppingham committee Karen Emery said: “We were absolutely gobsmacked to win the category and we were only five points off gold. For next year, the gold is definitely in sight. It was fantastic to increase our points by so many as well.
“Rutland ruled the room and it was fantastic to celebrate with Oakham on the same table.”
Karen said the community of Uppingham deserved to get a mention for its hard work in the bloom efforts, despite wet weather conditions.
She said: “It was really hard work this year and it was a real struggle but we wouldn’t have got there without the efforts of all our helpers.”
Uppingham is also holding a charity ball to raise money for its bloom efforts, which will be held on Saturday, September 29, at 7pm at the Falcon Hotel.
Tickets are £40, which includes a three-course dinner, from 079808 32415 or 077623 10864.
Bourne once again picked up a silver gilt in the town category, the same category as Oakham, and the Willoughby School in South Road, Bourne, received a special judges’ award.
Nelly Jacobs, from Bourne in Bloom, said the committee achieved the same number of points as last year.
She said: “It isn’t surprising that we haven’t improved but I know some towns have dropped some points so we are pleased.
“We don’t do as much as a lot of towns but what we do is of good quality and I think the judges appreciate that.”
Nelly said she was thrilled that the Willoughby School had been recognised for its efforts with the judges’ award.
She also thanked the traders for their increased input in the competition, which had been noticed by judges.
Bourne town councillor Judy Smith also paid tribute to Nelly’s efforts in rallying everyone to take part in the competition.
Deeping St James was also celebrating after winning a silver in the small town category, the same category as Uppingham, with the volunteers at Deeping Lakes Nature Reserve receiving a judges’ award.
There was also a discretionary award for Deeping Lakes for the best wildflower and conservation area. Benedict Court in Deeping St James was also marked outstanding in the it’s your neighbourhood section.
Committee member Judy Stevens said: “We were pleased to get the same number of points as last year particularly with the extremely difficult weather conditions we have had.
“I think the feather in our cap was Benedict Court getting outstanding because it is the first year the residents there have entered.”
Deeping St James was also mentioned for its adopt a road sign and unusual container initiatives to get people involved with keeping the area at its best.
There were 55 entrants in the competition from across the East Midlands.
Jeff Bates, chairman of East Midlands in Bloom, said: “This year the grey skies and prolonged periods of heavy rain caused a number of problems to bloom groups.
“Regardless of the weather, high standards were still maintained and there were lots of excellent examples showing communities working together to bring long lasting improvements to their area.”