WHAT a blooming wonderful tribute!
That was the reaction of long-time Lytham shrimper Russell Wignall when he first caught sight of a floral display which has been turning heads since it was unveiled in the town centre.
The leafy lifesize figure sitting on a bench in the Market Square is an image of Russell himself and is meant to symbolise one of Lytham’s greatest traditions as the town aims for more In Bloom competition glory.
The Russell lookalike, complete with accompanying bicycle, was the idea of his good friend Jim Green, who with his wife Meg heads Lytham’s Friends of the Estuary group.
They and other volunteers stage regular litter-picks to keep the town’s Green looking neat and tidy and were recognised for their efforts with an award from North West In Bloom last summer.
As a follow-up to that, the group has been put forward for the Britain In Bloom Awards, to be held later this year.
And with Lytham In Bloom bidding for awards glory on two fronts, a massive community effort is underway to make sure the town is looking its best – with the floral version of Russell part of the town centre display.
Wet weather has meant that the In Bloom committee have ended up about two weeks behind schedule making sure the floral displays are in place.
But the final touches are being made and officials are confident Lytham will be looking its very best for two sets of judges coming to town in the next few weeks.
Lytham In Bloom committee chairman Jim Leak said; “We won a Royal Horticultural Society gold award two years ago and RHS judges will be back to take a look at us again for that in August, while the North West In Bloom awards, in which we have been successful for the last eight years, will be judged on July 27.
“We are a couple of weeks behind this year because of the weather but there has been a massive community effort, which includes traders taking 120 hanging baskets and 30 flowering tubs.
“There will also be a floral image of a golfer outside the Clifton Arms Hotel, a Titanic feature on the Ballam Road triangle and a floral Britannia in the cenotaph gardens.
“The judges are always looking for something different and when Jim Green suggested the figure modelled on Russell we thought it was a great idea. Stephen Hall of Staining Road Nurseries made the idea a reality and it has certainly attracted plenty of attention.”
Russell, who has been a shrimper for 30 years, following in his father Arthur’s footsteps, said: “I am really honoured. My mum especially loves it.”