Sidmouth sweeps board at SW in Bloom awards

Best small town and best coastal town, best wins ever for Sidmouth in Bloom committee

AFTER a year’s break from entering South West in Bloom, the Sidmouth committee has fought back to win more awards this year than at any time in its 39-year history.

Sidmouth in Bloom president Joy Seward could hardly believe her ears as she heard Sidmouth had won not only gold and the Preece Cup for the best small town in the South West, but the McDonald’s Coastal Cup for the best coastal entry, the Royal Horticultural Society’s neighbourhood award for Witherby, as “thriving” and an RHS discretional award, Local Roots, for the Seaworld display and Rhinchosaurus at The Triangle.

Radio Gardener’s World presenter Bob Flowerdew, helped by herb farmer Jekka McVicar, presented the awards at Bath Assembly Rooms last Thursday.

Joy said: “It was a fantastic day, I was rather overwhelmed. Bob Flowerdew had to help me up the steps three times to receive the awards.

“I would like to thank all of our crew, they have been wonderful, we couldn’t do it without their support, everyone is a great credit to Sidmouth.”

She believes judges were impressed with the new judging route this year, which took in visits to Sidmouth Infants and All Saints Infants for the first time.

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Sidmouth Town Council’s vice-chairman Stuart Hughes, who accompanied committee members for the ceremony, said: “It was a brilliant day, I take my hat off to the amount of hard work Sidmouth in Bloom committee put in to win these awards.

“We have seen East Devon District Council pulling out of providing blooms, but the town council supports the committee by putting more money into it.

“It is a real fillip for Joy to carry on for the 40th to see if they can achieve better things next year.”

Bloom chairman Jane Sutherland-Earl added: “The day the judges came it poured with rain but I think they were very impressed by the overwhelming interest in the things we do.

“The committee is also very grateful to everyone who helped with the Open Gardens event.”

Sidmouth in Bloom is in for a tough 40th anniversary, with the loss of help from EDDC. However supporter Doreen Franks has offered land near the family’s Oak Mead Golf Course for a massive car boot sale on Sunday, October 24, and hopes to raise �1,000 for Sidmouth in Bloom.

Joy added: “It would be nice for people to work together and tidy areas near them. She hopes schools, Sidmouth Croquet Club, fire and police station with others, will plant flowers for next year’s competition.

She is keeping her fingers crossed Sidmouth will be chosen to represent the South West in next year’s Britain in Bloom contest and said: “It would be the icing on the cake if they asked us to go forward to the national finals.”