Sidmouth in Bloom committee resigns ‘en masse’

After 40 years, Joy Seward resigns from Sidmouth in Bloom

AFTER 40 years of bringing floral displays to Sidmouth, Joy Seward, president of Sidmouth in Bloom, is to retire.

With her will go the rest of the small committee, which is now negotiating with two nurseries to ensure the town’s floral delights are in place in 2012 so a new committee has time to plan how to continue and whether to compete in the RHS Britain in Bloom competitions.

Joy, 78, a founding member of Sidmouth in Bloom with former chairman John Govier, said: “I am very sad about it, but I realise it is something I have to do.”

She is recovering from a spell in hospital.

“Someone calculated the average age of the committee is 72. Accordingly, with health and other issues, we decided that the time had come to retire ‘en masse’, leaving the way clear for a new committee to form and develop their own ideas on how to promote the glories of Sidmouth,” Veronica Argyle, acting treasurer and Friends co-ordinator, reports in the group’s newsletter.

Also standing down is chairman Jane Sutherland-Earl, Veronica, David Baker, Jan Beavis; whose husband Nick makes 3D frames for new displays, Jean Adlam, Terry Yorke, website designer and photographer, and Sidmouth town council representatives, Jack Brokenshire and John Hollick.

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Joy said: “I think people will come and do something, it is being able to get someone to take the reins and organise.

“So many people say to me about what the council does, they don’t realise what is done by us.”

She said the council plants the large town centre planters and at Sidbury and Sidford and “will have to do the four flower beds to the entrance of the town.”

It is the committee that provides most of the floral displays in Sidmouth, including Fred the peacock, the marine display at The Triangle, hanging baskets through the town centre, trough planters at centre car parks and has to fundraise around �10,000 to do so.

Joy believes Fred may fall victim next year because of lack of funds to plant the peacock.

“I don’t think people realise how small the committee is and they have been doing everything, including taking buckets of water around to water plants,” said Veronica.

The committee also runs a local gardens competition and an Open Gardens scheme.

Joy paid tribute to all the committee’s backers, including Doreen Franks of Oakdown holiday park, who pays for the 3D rhyncosaur and War Memorial displays, Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen fund, and the Bagwell family who have taken on the maintenance of Anne’s Garden in Blackmore Gardens, planted in memory of former Sidmouth in Bloom member Anne Bagwell.

Over the years Joy has seen Sidmouth collect many gold awards from South West in Bloom competitions and says her most memorable time was competing in Britain in Bloom’s finals against Reg Langois from Jersey, who has since become a firm friend.