Farnham is celebrating after winning the Gold Award and being named joint winner of the Large Town category in the RHS’s Britain in Bloom competition.

The announcement was made at an awards ceremony in Llandudno, Wales on Friday (27 October).

Farnham was named Joint winner alongside Truro in Cornwall. Farnham impressed the RHS judges who drew attention to its ‘hot shades’ and ‘cool coloured’ baskets, planted bathtubs, ‘exceptional planting’ in the Bourne, and John Durham’s courtyard garden off Downing Street.

Farnham in Bloom is supported by community groups throughout the town who look after specific areas including Heath End, the Bourne, Badshot Lea, Hale, Rowledge, and over 40 Bloomin’ Litter pickers. In addition, schools and community groups plant baskets and pick litter making this a true community effort.

Councillor Stephen Hill, Lead Member for Farnham in Bloom said: “It was a very proud moment for us to accept the award on behalf of the town. It is an award that belongs to everybody who has contributed to Farnham in Bloom.

“The enthusiasm of those involved means the initiative gets better every single year. It is thanks to our volunteers who put in over 14,000 volunteer hours that we are able to achieve so much. I congratulate everybody involved and offer my most sincere thanks.”

Cllr Hill also paid tribute to the fantastic sponsors who included corporate sponsor Specsavers, gold sponsors Squire’s Garden Centre, Forest Lodge Garden Centre, Graduate Landscapes, The Patio Black Spot Removal Company, Wild Flower Turf Ltd and the Farnham Institute charity, silver sponsors BBS for Magimix, Aura Care Living and Net Technical solutions to individuals and companies who supported hanging baskets. “This year was our best year yet for sponsorship with over £20,000 raised to fund all the flowers and baskets in the town. This enables us to make the town look its best for residents and visitors alike,” said Cllr Hill.

This year two stalwarts of Farnham in Bloom, John Burdett and Kevin Taitt retire after 11 years and 14 years respectively. Kevin, team leader for outdoor services at Farnham Town Council, was presented with a Community Champion award for his professional expertise in helping volunteers to reach their goals and for winning many accolades in local Bloom competitions.

Farnham was visited by the Britain in Bloom judges in the summer. They assessed Farnham’s entry against three key criteria: community participation, environmental responsibility and horticultural achievement.

Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “It’s a huge honour to witness how Britain in Bloom brings people together and the lengths that groups go to to make their communities clean, green and beautiful. We saw an incredible diversity of different planting schemes, including wildflower meadows for wildlife, community food growing and plants chosen to cope with our changing climate.

“This year, the standard was as high as ever but what really stood out was the creativity and ingenuity that groups showed in tackling the specific challenges of their particular areas, whether that be lack of funding, local social issues or tricky site conditions.”

Britain in Bloom is now in its 53rd year and, for the first time, a new BBC Two series following the quintessentially British competition is set to air in spring 2018.

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