Sidmouth invited to Britain in Bloom finals

Public meeting call to secure support for national Bloom award entry for Sidmouth

JUST a week after resigning ‘en bloc’, Sidmouth in Bloom committee has learnt the Royal Horticultural Society wants Sidmouth to represent South West coastal towns at its prestigious Britain in Bloom finals next year.

But, warns outgoing president Joy Seward, a newly-formed committee must realise the amount of work needed to be undertaken to stand any chance of winning the title.

At Monday’s town council meeting, chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes, said South West in Bloom was “urging” the town not to forego the opportunity and suggested calling a public meeting early in January to encourage people to come forward and take up the challenge.

Finalists have to respond to their invitation by January 16, then attend a seminar in Norwich on January 26.

“Who knows what can come out of it?” he asked. “Certainly, to make the town look really good for the Queen’s diamond jubilee would be a marvellous achievement.”

He said he hoped a new committee could “draw on the wealth of experience” from past committee members.

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Joy said: “There are a lot of extra things to do for a national final as it is a big thing. Usually there are two judgings and you have to raise funds by holding things such as the Open Gardens.”

While the outgoing committee has put in place funding with two nurseries to ensure Sidmouth will have its usual floral displays, including the marine scene at The Triangle, troughs and hanging baskets, for 2012, she said someone would have to prepare folders, take photographs and get the Sidmouth in Bloom website in order for a national contest.

“It is a big thing for a new committee to take on, believe me, it is a lot of work,” said Joy. “Nearly every time we’ve entered we have won, including Entente Cordiale in the ‘70s.”

She said towns were now realising that without financial support from their councils the Britain in Bloom competition was a big commitment to undertake.

“I don’t regret resigning and I would be happy to give advice.”