Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens flies Green Flag again

Youngsters hoist Green Flag for sixth consecutive year at Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens

FOR the sixth year running, Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens has won the coveted Green Flag Award, making it one of the most successful public parks in the UK.

At noon on Wednesday, at the request of organisers Keep Britain Tidy, winning towns across the country held simultaneous flag-raising ceremonies, including one at Manor Gardens, Exmouth, which has won a Green Flag for five consecutive years.

At Sidmouth, four pupils from St Nicholas Junior School - Freddie and Jemima Proctor, Josie Smith and Willow Osman, who are members of the school’s Green Club run by teacher Leah Stratton - helped gardener Darren Cross, raise the flag, watched by East Devon District Council chairman, Councillor Graham Liverton, Mark Pollard, EDDC’s parks development officer, town and district councillors.

Although management and long-term planning of the gardens is the duty of EDDC’s StreetScene parks officers, they are helped by local Sidmouth in Bloom organisers and pupils from local schools.

Darren is largely responsible for the day-to-day care of Connaught Gardens, receiving help during bedding plant seasons.

StreetScene staff work with a number of schools to design displays for beds in the gardens, and those taking part this year were St Nicholas Junior School, All Saints Infants, Sidbury Primary, Sidmouth Infants and St John’s School.

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The Green Flag site also includes the grass area of Peak Hill Slope, which leads walkers out of the town parks to the countryside beyond. This is maintained by gardener Jamie Stoneman and colleagues.

Mr Liverton said: “I am extremely proud of our gardens in East Devon. People may take it for granted Sidmouth has had the Green Flag for years, but it just can’t be taken for granted because the goalposts and rules change.

“Financial constraints have had a knock-on effect all over the country. I think Connaught Gardens and Manor Gardens in Exmouth are a tribute and credit to our gardeners, who are the salt of the earth.

“Residents in East Devon should be grateful to our gardeners who work over and above their duty, putting a lot of time and pride into their work.”

Councillor Graham Brown, EDDC’s portfolio holder environment, said: “I am delighted that these two towns have again won this coveted award. It’s a good example of what can be achieved when there is a strong partnership between the council and the community.

“I’d like to congratulate all our gardeners for their hard work and devotion. They are the unsung heroes who work tirelessly in all weathers to keep our parks consistently in award-winning condition.”