MONTHS of hard work paid off for the Barnoldswick in Bloom team when they picked up two top awards at a regional ceremony.
Barnoldswick was named best overall newcomer in this year’s North West in Bloom contest. It was also given the Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal in the town category, just pipped to the title of the region’s best overall town.
Chairman of the Bloom group, set up to prepare and present the town’s bid, Hugh Lawrence said: “We knew the reason we were going to the ceremony was because we had won an award but we didn’t know what it was.
“In the first batch of awards we were named best newcomer in all categories, which we were absolutely delighted with. Then to hear we had won a gold award in the town category was so exciting, and quite moving.”
The idea to enter North West in Bloom was conceived by the Town Council last year, with lots of behind-the-scenes work. Before the judges arrived in July there was a flurry of planting around the Town Square, Co-op and Valley Gardens, and volunteers pitching in to get the town “spick and span” for inspection. Local media company The Reverb Factory produced a promotional video for the bid, which received online hits from all over the world and used the help of local primary school children.
Even local sheep were brought in to give the town an edge over the competition with the revelation wool makes a great lining for hanging baskets.
Hugh said: “It became more and more clear it wasn’t just about clearing up and planting flowers, but a sense of getting everyone involved. We came to realise the judges valued the community spirit as much as the actual floral displays.
“Everyone who has got involved this year has given a tremendous boost to what we can achieve by next year.”
The Bloom bid included events to involve the local community from the old to the young, including a successful Grow and Show workshop taking place alongside the Barlick Beach.
Looking forward to next year, Hugh said: “We would like to get as many organisations and individuals as possible involved in a big bedding display which would reflect what this town is about. Ideally, each group or person would make a little piece of this giant jigsaw, possibly outside Holy Trinity Church, and celebrating 60 years of Barnoldswick to also tie in with Jubilee year.
“We’d also like to do some planting of hedges and trees, the kind that yield a wild harvest so children can learn about picking nuts and berries.
“We also know the judges are interested in things like litter picking and encouraging eco-friendly projects so that is something to think about; things that make a town a nicer place to live in.
“But for now I think the people of Barnoldswick have something they can be hugely proud of here. Barnoldswick was the first town the judges came to and when I spoke to one of them at the ceremony he said they felt ‘happy’ when they saw our presentation, and it put them in a good mood for the rest of their visits. They could really sense the spirit of the place and if people think back to how it was quite controversial when the Town Square was first created, there is now a really special feeling there with all the shops and people milling around.”