International judges take in Sidmouth’s sights and smells

Sidmouth in Bloom committee members with town councillors Stuart Hughes and John Hollick, town clerk

Sidmouth in Bloom committee members with town councillors Stuart Hughes and John Hollick, town clerk Christopher Holland and Communities in Bloom judges Bob Ivison and Alain Cappelle - Credit: Archant

International judges came to experience Sidmouth’s sights and smells as the town is entered into a worldwide competition for the first time.

Communities in Bloom representatives spent three days assessing the town and comparing it to its medium-sized competitors in Italy and Canada.

Judges Bob Ivison and Alain Cappelle considered how well the Sidmouth in Bloom committee presented their town, engaged the public and planned for the future.

Bob, who has worked as a green space manager and for London in Bloom, said: “They are stepping into the big league – being involved in Britain in Bloom and now Communities in Bloom will see Sidmouth’s reputation go from strength to strength.

“‘In bloom’ is much more than flowers – it’s about how everyone works together.

“It adds to the overall quality of life, it improves what you see out of the window.”

He added that organisations such as the Sid Vale Association, the National Trust and Sidmouth Town Council already work together towards a shared goal.

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Alain, an architect, said he was impressed with the Byes, the town’s efforts towards sustainability and attempts to maintain its heritage.

The judges were taken round a walking portfolio of the town, with visits to Connaught Gardens, the recycling centre and up Peak Hill.

Sidmouth in Bloom chairman Lynette Talbot said: “They don’t give away anything, but I think they enjoyed themselves – they certainly took plenty of time to look at everything.”

She said the duo were a good source of ideas for future campaigns, not just for the international competition, but also Britain in Bloom, and that the busyness of FolkWeek did nothing to harm the town’s chances.

Lynette thanked all the businesses, volunteers, East Devon District Council StreetScene and guides who helped out with the tour – ‘and the weather!’.

Sidmouth was the last place on the judges’ route. They visited from last Thursday until Saturday.

The town is up against Trail and Castlegar in British Colombia, Pembroke in Ontario, and Savigliano in Italy. The results will be announced in Ottawa on October 26.

The Sidmouth in Bloom committee are also eagerly awaiting the results of South West in Bloom, which will be announced on September 19.