Woolton in Bloom
The roots of Britain in Bloom can be traced back to the early 1960s when
Roy Hay MBE, a horticultural journalist, was on holiday in France during
the ‘Fleurissement de France’. The country was filled to overflowing
with flowers, shrubs and trees all in full bloom and this impressed him so
much that on his return to Britain, he enlisted the help of the British Tourist
Authority, and the Royal Horticultural Society and the Britain in Bloom
competition was born in 1963. By 1983 the British Tourist Authority had moved to the Tidy Britain Group
(now EnCams (Environment Campaigns) and in 2001 the event was organised
jointly by EnCams and the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society). In
November of this same year the RHS took control to become the organising
body of Britain in Bloom.
Britain in Bloom ‘campaign’ (competition) has 10 entry categories,
which are based on the population of each entry. Within each category
communities of similar size are encouraged to compete with each other in
the imaginative planting of trees, shrubs, flowers and landscaping and in
dealing with issues of litter, graffiti and vandalism." *
The categories are:
"The UK is divided into 12 English regions plus Scotland, Wales,
Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. Judging usually takes
place in two stages, over a period of two years.
The first stage of judging is the local competition. Entries are received
by Local Authorities, Town or Parish Councils or by voluntary local
'Bloom' Committees depending upon the area. Judging of the first stage
takes place in June/July and winners announced during local presentations
between August and November.
On completion of the first stage of judging, entries are selected by the
Committee that represents their nation/region for the second stage, which
is UK-wide judging - organised by Tidy Britain Group and the RHS with the
RHS taking full responsibility from 2002. To ensure that effort is
sustained over time, this second stage of judging takes place in August
the year after they qualify. For example, entries selected in 2003 to be
judged in 2004. Winners of the UK judging are announced at a prestigious
ceremony in September/October." *
Liverpool city centre was first entered for Britain in Bloom in 2000.
However, Councillor Flo’ Clucas conceived the idea that the suburbs
would benefit more and said she had the idea: "as a means of
improving and enhancing the area, and as a mechanism for promoting
community spirit and encouraging local organisations and residents to work
together for one common aim." Woolton was chosen because it was felt
that it best suited the criteria of a typical suburban village and was
entered in 2001. In 2002 Woolton entered again, as did the city centre.
Woolton in Bloom
Local youth organisations, schools, churches, WVRA (Woolton Village
Residents Association), the WVTA (Woolton Village Traders Association) and
The Woolton Society were contacted for their support, as well as several
‘high-profile’ people whom, it was hoped, would agree to being
Patron's of the Woolton in Bloom bid.
The first meeting, called for by Councillors Barbara Collinge &
Barbara Mace, who are the joint chairs, was held on Wednesday, 16th May
2001, in St. Mary’s Church Hall, St. Mary's Street, at 6pm, where Derek
Dottie explained how the Parks and Gardens would help with the loan of
hanging baskets and flower tubs etc.
The 12th July was the
judging day and what a glorious day it was, full sunshine! The following
September the prizes were awarded for the Northwest in Bloom with Woolton
being the Runners-up in the large village category and were also awarded
1st. prize, a beautiful glass apple, signed by the designer, John
Ditchfield, for the best landscape designs in the walled gardens. The
sponsors, Morecrofts Solicitors (then Morecroft, Urquhart), Church Road,
agreed to display the certificates and prize in their window -
another memorable event had been written into the history of our village!
In the first four years of entering Village in Bloom, Woolton has won 7 awards. The pictorial diary for each year of Woolton in Bloom, a
conditional record that has to be kept, are located at Woolton Village
Library for members of the public to see, in more detail, the progress,
and changes for the better, that are being made in our village.
On the 24th September, 2004, a group
of representatives went to Manchester to attend the awards ceremony and
were totally gobsmacked when it was announced that they had won Best Large
Village in the North West of England, the award for Most Improved Entry
and a Certificate of Merit for Woolton Wood & Camp Hill in addition to
several Small Neighbourhood awards. It was even more gratifying to learn
that it was the first time in the 40-year history of Britain in Bloom that
an urban village had won the Best Large Village award!
Against all expectations Woolton Village won the Best Large Village entry
in 2006 for the third time in succession!
Woolton in Bloom, by Rhona Friend.
Councillors Barbara Collinge and Barbara Mace.