Broughshane wins top award in RHS Britain in Bloom 2012
7 October 2012
Broughshane, in County Antrim, has been awarded the ultimate community gardening prize by the world’s leading gardening charity - it won the RHS Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions category meaning the large village is arguably the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful location in Britain.
Matt Baker, host of BBC TV’s The One Show, presented the awards, held in St Peter Port, Guernsey and attended by 450 community gardening champions.
More than 1,200 UK communities, from big cities to tiny villages, participate each year in the RHS campaign to green-up and clean-up Britain. Of these, just 72 finalists were chosen to represent their region/nation in the 2012 UK finals.
A record 24 Gold medals were awarded along with 37 Silver-Gilts, proving that Britain’s best towns, villages and cities truly are being transformed through gardening.
Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Judging Panel, Roger Burnett, led a team of 14 volunteer judges who toured the UK in July and August visiting each finalist. They marked against three key criteria:
- horticultural achievement
- community participation
- environmental responsibility.
Roger said: “We had the privilege and pleasure of visiting the most environmentally-aware communities in Britain and meeting the wonderful people responsible for them.
"The best thing about being a judge is meeting the volunteers. They’re hard-working and resilient – whatever’s thrown at them, whether it’s a hosepipe ban or flooding, they’ll find a way around it. It’s a hugely comforting thought to know that there are more than 200,000 Britain in Bloom volunteers across the UK.”
'A shining example' with a bright future
Judge John Woodward, who visited Broughshane, described it as “a shining example”. He said: “Twenty-five years ago, the town was a centre of sectarian problems and the idea of a cohesive community seemed an unlikely possibility. Years of solid hard work and vision under the motto ‘Plants, people and pride growing together’ have turned Broughshane into an area of beauty, warmth and charm that has a future as bright as its flowers.”
Last year, the RHS released a report demonstrating how RHS Britain in Bloom benefits the physical, social and economic health of the country. It revealed that being involved in the campaign was a key factor in driving visitors and investment into areas, thus improving economic wellbeing. Local businesses flourish, jobs are created and local authorities save a vast amount of money. Through Britain in Bloom activities, for example, Broughshane (once a derelict village with only one service) now enjoys 150,000 visitors a year and has a number of services, employing 300 local people.
Several discretionary awards were also given to communities and individuals who demonstrated excellence in a particular area of the campaign. These included awards for young people’s involvement, environmental sustainability and community-wide participation, among others.