Members of the Farnham in Bloom community have received thanks from Farnham Town Council for their contribution towards this year’s success at South and South East in Bloom.

The annual Farnham in Bloom Awards took place on Thursday with presentations to local school children. Prizes were awarded for the best hanging basket, tallest sunflower, largest pumpkin, best scarecrow, flower in a boot and best anti-litter poster. Additional prizes were given to those who entered the Secret Gardens of Farnham competition.

Later in the evening, over 100 Farnham in Bloom contributors, sponsors and friends gathered for the community presentation.

Councillor Stephen Hill, Lead Member for Farnham in Bloom addressed guests and described how much the Farnham in Bloom team had appreciated the support and level of community involvement this year. He said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to our corporate sponsor, Specsavers Farnham and also our Gold sponsors, especially Squire’s for kindly hosting this event this evening, The Farnham Institute Charity, The Patio Black Spot Removal Co, Forest Lodge, Wildflower Turf and Graduate Landscapes. I would also like to thank our Silver Sponsors – Aura Care Living, BBS Ltd, Glendale and Net Technical Solutions.“

The evening proceeded with the Mayor of Farnham Councillor Mike Hodge and representatives from the main sponsoring organisations presenting prizes to the winners of the Allotment competition and Secret Gardens of Farnham.

The Mayor presented the top award for the evening, the Mayor’s Special Award, to Martin Billet for his outstanding contribution to Farnham. Martin Billet has been an integral member of the Farnham in Bloom Community Group since its inception nine years ago and Chairman since 2014.

In describing Martin, the Mayor said: “Martin is a true community champion who works tirelessly to make sure Farnham in Bloom is on everyone’s agenda. His passion for horticulture literally shines through in all that he does, bringing excitement and joy for the subject, especially at the Ridgeway Community School at which he teaches.

Martin has been instrumental in the Town Council’s highly successful Bloomin’ Kids Gardening workshops which launched last year to rave reviews, his incredible voluntary work with Post 19 and chairing the Farnham in Bloom community group. He is also supportive of events throughout the year and takes part in bulb planting and litter picking around the town. Martin fully deserves this award.”

Special awards were also presented to Rita and Geoff Hollebon who were jointly crowned Bloomin’ Litter Volunteer of the Year and John Durham who won Gardener of the Year.

Farnham Town Council’s Outside Services Team Leader Kevin Taitt came in for warm words as he announced his retirement at the end of October. The Chairman of South and South East in Bloom Peter Holman attended the celebration and congratulated Kevin on his qualities that made him an effective judge for South and South East in Bloom and his contribution that meant Farnham in Bloom was an exemplar in the region. Gold sponsor Squire’s Garden Centre presented Kevin with a special cake to mark his retirement.

The awards concluded with the announcement that a new category will be introduced into next year’s Secret Gardens competition in honour of Madge Green who passed away earlier this year. Madge was the driving force behind Farnham in Bloom for many years before the Town Council took over. The new category will be aptly named the ‘Madge Green Award for Best Community Gardening Project’ so her legacy would live on.

The winners of the awards are:

Schools’ awards

Hanging basket competition

Potters Gate Primary School – Gold award

Tallest sunflower

St Andrew’s Infant School

Largest pumpkin

South Farnham Junior School

Best scarecrow

South Farnham Infant School – Gold

Flower in a Boot

Badshot Lea Village Infant School – Gold

Best Anti-Litter Poster

Sophie Jones & Oliver Lewis who collaborated on the winning entry from Folly Hill Infant School – Gold

Secret Gardens of Farnham Awards

Best School Garden

Badshot Lea Infant School – Gold

A Certificate of Excellence was awarded to St Andrew’s School on behalf of South and South East in Bloom.

Community awards

The Mayor of Farnham and Sarah Squire presented awards to the winners of the allotment competition:

Best Overall Plot across all Farnham Town Council Allotment Sites 2017

Robert & Angela Page, Six Bells Allotment Site

The Town Crier presented the:

Best Scarecrow award to John Martin on Six Bells.

Tallest Sunflower award to Paul Croucher

Largest Pumpkin award to David Wheeler

Secret Garden Awards

The Best Front, Back or Small garden category was presented by Sarah Squire and Cllr Stephen Hill to Nick & Susan Green – Gold Award

The Best Large Garden category was presented by the Mayor and Quintin Elverson and Charles Wisden of Forest Lodge Garden Centre to Anthony Hill-Reid – Gold Award

Best Hanging Basket or Container category to Vivienne Gardiner – Gold Award

Councillor Hill and Sarah Squire presented the award for the Best Public House to The Jolly Sailor – Gold Award

The Best Shop Front Category was sponsored and presented by Amie Ebsworth and Emma Walker from Corporate sponsor Specsavers Farnham to Classical Floral Designs, Borelli Yard – Gold Award

The Best Courtyard was sponsored and presented by James Stewart from The Patio Black Spot Removal Company:

Jonathan Durham – Gold Award

The Best Business Premises category was sponsored and presented by Amie Ebsworth and Emma Walker from Corporate sponsor Specsavers Farnham to The Farnham Maltings – Gold Award

The Best Wildlife Garden was presented by Helen Gillespie-Brown from Wild Flower Turf and the Mayor of Farnham to Ian and Beryl Webster – Gold Award

The Gardener of the Year award was presented to John Durham

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