Leeds wins gold at the 50th Britain in Bloom UK Awards
PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 November 2014 | UPDATED: 01:44 24 October 2015
Joan Russell Photography
Leeds gives a floral masterclass
Lovely Leeds has proved it’s top of the plant pots by winning a coveted gold at the milestone 50th Britain in Bloom UK Awards, Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign run by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds’ executive member for cleaner, safer and stronger communities, said: ‘It was a massive privilege for us to be shortlisted and, while we didn’t win (the Large City category was won by Sunderland), the experience will undoubtedly stand us in good stead for the future.
‘I would like to personally thank all of our In Bloom groups across Leeds, local businesses and our dedicated and skilful council staff, who do so much, day in day out, to keep our communities looking so great.’
The judging panel toured the city this summer, meeting community representatives and assessing projects against three key criteria: horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
After visiting West Yorkshire, the judges said: ‘Leeds is a vibrant and modern city that has met the economic challenges head on. The city has used Bloom and the floral initiative to get the community involved and to support and develop partnerships between businesses, residents and the local authority, in taking forward improvements that could otherwise not have been afforded.’
The RHS Britain in Bloom awards are a chance to celebrate the work of dedicated volunteers across the UK, of which there are up to 300,000, and to recognise achievement, innovation and a commitment to keeping our villages, towns and cities clean, green and thriving.
Bloom volunteers collectively invest nearly 11 million hours every year, which equates to almost £70 million at the national minimum wage.
RHS ambassador Adam Frost, who has won six gold medals at Chelsea Flower Show, hosted the annual Britain in Bloom ceremony, held this year at the Bristol Marriott City Centre and attended by almost 400 community gardeners.
‘I know all about the amazing work that the thousands of Bloom volunteers up and down the country do on a daily basis,’ he said. ‘It’s such an honour to be asked to present the awards to those who have made it to the national finals – they are all inspirational people.’
Leeds also picked up the Public Park Award for Roundhay which, the judges said, delivered horticultural excellence and delighted visitors through appropriate planting, high standards of maintenance, wildlife conservation, cleanliness, features of interest and community involvement.
‘Roundhay Park covers over 700 acres of parkland, lakes and woodland and is one of the largest urban parks in the world,’ they said. ‘Following extensive renovations a new area of award-winning gardens created for the Chelsea Flower Show has been rebuilt for all to enjoy.’
Pride of the county
Yorkshire’s other winners at the 50th Britain in Bloom finals include:
Dunnington, which took Gold and won the overall top spot in the Small Town category
Roy Freer of Dunnington, who received a Community Champion Award
Filey, which received Silver Gilt in the category for Coastal Towns Up To 12k
Harrogate, which won Gold in the Small City category
Chris Beard, who was presented with a Community Champion Award
Upper Hopton, which achieved Silver Gilt in the Village category