In 2017 a star-studded RHS Britain in Bloom National Awards gala event was held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Exeter was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal for the work done across the city and university during the year!
This was the first time for 25 years that Exeter has been in the National Finals – and this year Exeter represented the whole of the South West in the ‘Small City’ category (a category which included Harrogate, Canterbury, Derry, Loughborough, Colchester and Rugby).
Each of the 3 core elements of Exeter’s Award are scored separately:
Silver for Horticultural Achievement ;
Silver for Environmental Responsibility; and
GOLD for Community Participation.
The two National judges were impressed by the strong horticultural links based on the famous Veitch family of Exeter and said that the University grounds were ‘just spectacular’, so much so that they intend to visit again just to enjoy a private tour of the trees and shrubs.
There was particular praise for the hanging baskets in the High Street and Gandy Street, funded by The Exeter Business Improvement District (BID) and for the BID’s team support for cleansing services in the city centre. And Princesshay’s Roof Garden and Bee Hives were singled out for special praise.
Andy Littlejohns, Operations Manager of Princesshay, said, ‘This Award is a fantastic achievement and we were very pleased to have been involved in the whole process’.
Exeter’s Britain in Bloom team is a strong partnership between the city council staff, volunteers and the University who hosted community groups, welcomed the National Judges and showed off their superb campus. University of Exeter Director of Grounds, Iain Park, said:
“We are very proud to have contributed to Exeter’s Britain in Bloom success. To receive this kind of recognition is wonderful news and reflects the hard work that our dedicated staff put in to maintaining the University grounds to the highest standard. The city has so many wonderful areas for both the local community and visitors to the city to enjoy.”
Both the Streatham and St Luke’s campuses have also been bestowed with Green Flag awards this year, which signifies to the city and its visitors that the University’s grounds are kept to the upmost quality and are wonderfully maintained for everyone to enjoy.
Exeter in Bloom’s community contribution was supported by a grant of £2,000 from The Exeter Board Fund to engage with the 26 individual ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ grass-roots community entries who among them achieved ten ‘Outstanding’ awards. The judges said,
‘The presence and support of Exeter’s numerous community groups was tremendous’.
Paul Bull, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said:
‘It’s gratifying to note that the Exeter in Bloom entry was classified GOLD for community engagement. ‘Time and time again, I see the work of local residents transforming their neighbourhoods and making a difference in their communities. Many local projects have been taking place around the year by local volunteers, and I’ve managed to join some of these in recent months. The award of the Silver Gilt for Exeter is recognition of all this tremendous effort”.
Christine Fraser and Paul Collier, leading Exeter in Bloom, were presented with a special flag to be flown in the City and a special banner is in the post. Retiring from managing Exeter in Bloom, Christine Fraser said,
‘It has been a pleasure and a real privilege to be linked to over 300 volunteers across the city contributing so much to improving areas where we all live and work. We wish Stella Cahill, who will be taking over this role, every success in the future’.
Christine Fraser remains on the RHS South West in Bloom Committee and will continue to enjoy her regional judging role during her retirement.
|RHS BRITAIN IN BLOOM NATIONAL FINALS|
|City with University||SILVER-GILT|