Months of hard work by volunteers and our staff has been recognised by judges from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as all 4 areas in our blossoming borough have been awarded medals at the 2018 regional North West in Bloom competition.
The competition is the last of the season and follows on from award wins at RHS Tatton Park and from the national competition, Britain in Bloom.
Rochdale, Pennines and Heywood received a gold award each while Middleton, which entered the competition for only the second time this year, received a silver-gilt.
Awards are also given for specific achievements and this year included best feature in a public place for the pop-up garden in Rochdale Town Centre, an overcoming adversity award for Rochdale borough, gold award for TOPS, Heywood, silver for Middleton town centre management and an outstanding contribution to North West in Bloom for Roy Down, the Chairman of Rochdale in Bloom.
RHS judges visited Rochdale borough in July and were impressed with the stunning displays, which were inspired by the First World War, to mark its centenary and honour the 16 million people who died in the conflict.
Volunteers downed their trowels for the ceremony in Southport on Friday, 2 November 2018 to receive the prestigious awards and celebrate the small army of volunteers and local businesses who helped in creating this year's displays.
North West in Bloom, run by the RHS, has been celebrating the success of communities since 1964 and aims to encourage local communities to improve and care for their local environment. They promote imaginative planting schemes, landscaping, conservation and recycling projects, and clean-up projects for litter and graffiti.
Judges award points based on 3 main criteria: horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.
The hot summer particularly impacted this year's blooms which required more watering than usual. Armed with watering cans, volunteers and our workers tended the colourful displays with good spirit.
Councillor Neil Emmott, our Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm, dedication, pride and hard work of community groups in delivering a range of First World War inspired projects this year. Working alongside council staff, all 4 township groups have created and maintained displays that have improved our beautiful town for residents and visitors alike.
"These results are a testament to what we can achieve when we work collaboratively in Rochdale. While most of us only see the benefits in the summer months, council staff work hard with community groups all year round to make Rochdale a cleaner and greener borough and for that I'd like to add my thanks to all involved."
This is the third RHS win this year for Rochdale in Bloom who have also received gold at Tatton Park for their 'blooming border' display and at the national Britain in Bloom competition in Belfast on Friday, 19 October 2018.
Quotes from In Bloom chair's
Roy Down, Rochdale in Bloom chairman, said: "Today was the culmination of a year of hard work and I hope that everyone has been able to enjoy the day and soak up the accolades. We've numerous unsung In Bloom heroes and these final awards are for you, all the amazing volunteers who have given up countless hours on their evenings and weekends to get us to this stage. We can't forget the hard working and passionate army of council professionals who take over during the day to ensure Rochdale remains clean, green and In Bloom all year round."
Ellen Yates, Chairwoman for Heywood in Bloom, said: "We welcome the news of another gold win for Rochdale! The borough continues to blossom and the gold award is well deserved by the numerous volunteers that have worked hard over the last few years to get us to this position."
Ray Smith, chairman of Pennines in Bloom, said: "It's certainly been a very challenging year. Especially with the extra hot weather and being out day and night watering. It's definitely been a team effort! We've had a wonderful day celebrating our 4th year in the competition and yet another gold."
Paula Hickey, chairwoman of Middleton in Bloom, said: "It's fantastic getting recognition for all of our hard work but you don't do it for the recognition. You do it to make our amazing town a better place to live."
Full list of awards:
- Rochdale: small city gold
- Best display in a public place: World War One pop-up garden, Rochdale Town Hall
- Overcoming adversity: Rochdale Borough Council
- Outstanding contribution to North West in Bloom: Roy Down, Rochdale in Bloom chairman
- Parks and green spaces award: Norden Jubilee Park
- RHS park 2 year cycle: Norden Jubilee Park
- Best town centre: gold
- Business premises: Zen Internet, gold
- Town centre management: gold
- Castleton railway station: silver-gilt
- Best small accommodation: Flying Horse Pub: gold
- Best small accommodation: Nutters restaurant: gold (Category winner)
- Community Housing Award: RBH
- Springhill Hospice: gold
- Heywood: Large town gold Best town centre:gold
- Queen's Park: silver-gilt
- TOPS, Heywood - gold
- Crown Oil: gold
- Mike Goldrick Blinds: gold
- Heywood distribution park: gold and overall category winner
- Hopwood Park: silver-gilt
- Best railway station: silver
- Phoenix Brewery: gold
- Pennines: Large town gold
- Milnrow memorial park:
- Birch Hill Hospice: silver
- Hollingworth Lake Country Park:
- Wardle village: silver-gilt
- Middleton: Large town silver-gilt
- Middleton town centre management: silver