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Cumbria pick up top awards at community garden Oscars
12:00am Sunday 13th October 2013 in News
Community gardeners in Cumbria were celebrating last night after having won a Silver-Gilt Medal at the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom National Awards.
Windermere picked up the silver gilt in the Town category and Cartmel was awarded silver in the village category at the prestigious annual event which was hosted this year by BBC broadcaster, Bob Flowerdew.
Alan Heath from Cumbria was also presented with an RHS Britain in Bloom Outstanding Contribution Award.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: "The image that most people have of RHS Britain in Bloom is of pretty hanging baskets and colourful bedding displays but this is a far cry from what the campaign is really about.
"Our finalists were nominated to represent their region or nation for a range of reasons. For example, awards were given out in recognition of innovative environmental practices, such as efforts to help native wildlife, for educating young people in horticulture, engaging with businesses and for strengthening communities.
"In reality every finalist is a winner no matter what medal they get so well done both Cartmel and Windermere. It was a true pleasure to visit such wonderful places."
Roger Burnett led a team of fourteen volunteer judges who toured the UK in pairs at the end of July and early August visiting each of the 77 finalists .
They marked against three central criteria - horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
A survey conducted earlier this year found that more than 20,000 volunteers spent 100,000 hours of their spare time getting their respective communities into the finals of RHS Britain in Bloom.
Collectively they manage 90,000 acres of public space and planted more than 2,000,000 plants over the last year.
Through corporate sponsorships, 2013 finalists raised almost £350,000 to help fund local projects, such as the creation of allotments and nearly all finalists have changed their activities because of climate change and, for example, many now plant sustainably.
Lytham, in Lincolnshire, was awarded the ultimate community gardening prize winning the Champion of Champions 2013 award, meaning the town is arguably the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful location in Britain.
A number of discretionary awards were 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, amongst others.
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