Oadby and Wigston represent county at ‘Britain in Bloom’ awards – and pick up second highest achievement possible

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 1 November 2023

OADBY and Wigston has received the second highest achievement possible at the national ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition, where they represented the East Midlands.

Pictured: Mayor Coun. Adams, Simon Lucas, David Carter, Nigel Dickinson, with ‘Britain in Bloom’ judges (Image: OWBC)

The competition is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, and the results were revealed last week at a ceremony in London.

The borough marked one of the four finalists in the ‘Small City’ category, and represented the county, where they successfully picked up a ‘Silver Gilt’ award.

It was one of three entrants to be put forward for a discretionary ‘Horticultural Excellence Award’. And, in particular, judges praised Nova Laboratories in South Wigston, commenting that “the horticultural standard was surpassed.”

Judges toured the borough back in July, where they visited the best floral displays and green space it has to offer, finishing at the University of Leicester’s Botanic Garden.

As well as looking for horticultural excellence, the judges assessed environmental responsibility and community participation, meeting with members of local volunteer and gardening groups, including South Wigston Community Garden, and Oadby Baptist Church, to hear about the work they do, and the local benefits they bring.

The borough was selected to progress to the national finals, after they received a twelfth ‘Gold’ award at last year’s regional East Midlands in Bloom award.

The entry was co-ordinated by Pride of the Borough – a group of individuals, civic societies, community action groups, and neighbourhood groups, who all work together to encourage people to take a pride in the area.

The entry was also supported by Oadby and Wigston borough council, with the judges’ report commenting that: “This is an impressive community ably supported by all levels of the council – the sense of enjoyment and pride in everyone we met was infectious.”

Simon Lucas, Chair of Pride of the Borough, said: “For us to be recognised like this in our 20th anniversary year makes it extra special. Our aim as an organisation is to improve our environment while getting the local community involved, and I can’t think of a better realisation of that goal.

“Our members, volunteers and the council’s Clean and Green team invest a massive amount of effort year-round to make our borough look its best and they should be very pleased with this result. We don’t just do it for the competitions however, and I hope that local residents have enjoyed our floral displays and green spaces, as well as our efforts to make the borough a cleaner and greener place for us all to live.”

Coun. Ian Ridley, Chair of the Borough Council’s Environment Working Group, said: “Being asked to represent the whole East Midlands region at this level is a huge honour for the borough, and is a fantastic reward for the effort which goes into entering each year’s In Bloom competition.

“Achieving a Silver Gilt award in the face of such strong competition is a true achievement, and really is a testament to the strength of our community and the dedication of Pride of the Borough. Everyone involved should be very proud of all their hard work – thank you and congratulations!”

This isn’t the only time in recent months that the borough have picked up an award for their flowers. In fact, they picked up their thirteenth gold award at the East Midlands in Bloom competition.

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