Lytham has more blooming cause for celebration after winning national gold again – and its army of gardening volunteers are eagerly looking forward to being back in Champion of Champions contention next year.
Two years after being crowned the ‘best of the best’ by the Royal Horticultural Society, Lytham was back in contention for Britain In Bloom - and took the top prize in the small resort category for coastal towns with a population of up to 12,000.
Now, as the Lytham volunteers savour a fifth Britain in Bloom gold, the town is to be entered again in Champion of Champions and In Bloom committee chairman Jim Leak said: “We are all delighted.
“Dozens of helpers and hundreds of supporters have worked tirelessly.
“Lytham has looked superb all spring, summer and autumn.
“Someone said Fylde is now Britain’s In Bloom borough and I have to agree.
“Lytham’s fantastic committee has led the way but the whole of Fylde has been looking better and better each year.
‘The Lytham committee could not have done it without help from AXA, Fylde Council, Kirkham Prison and hundreds of other volunteers. This award is recognition for all of them.
‘The judges were looking for more than just flower beds and hanging baskets.
“They also looked at allotments, parks, involvement by the community, street cleaning, recycling and general environmental quality.
“We’ll be going all out in next year’s Champion of Champions section which will pit us against winning towns in other categories.
“The judges told us that Lytham In Bloom’s template is a good one: we just have to work harder than ever and I’m sure we’ll be doing that.’
The Britain In Bloom gold prize was presented at the Royal Horticultural Society awards in Sunderland and saw Lytham beat off the challenge of North Berwick; Dartmouth; St Brelade, Jersey; St Pierre du Bois, Guernsey; and Whitby.
Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “What an incredible honour. Lytham will be extremely proud of its volunteers on achieving this major award. We have the regional In Bloom awards coming up later this month and I’m sure that other towns and villages will also excel.
“They have really made Fylde look excellent in recent years.
“Fylde residents know how beautiful the area is – and now we have national recognition. It is all a fantastic reflection on the hard work of individuals and community groups. They all deserve the borough’s thanks.”
Roger Burnett, chairman of the RHS’s UK Judging Panel, said: “This has been a vintage year for Britain in Bloom with communities across the country coming together to create wonderful floral displays that benefit not just the individuals involved, but their communities and the wider environment.
“Thanks to the work of Britain in Bloom, our pollinators are better supported, once neglected areas of our towns, villages and cities are turning from grey to green, and communities are coming together with a shared purpose.
“The standard of entries this year has been incredibly high. It is an honour to recognise and celebrate the work these amazing people do to build stronger, healthier and happier communities through gardening.”
Next week, the winners of this year’s North West In Bloom awards will be announced – and various Fylde towns and villages will be hoping for success.
Lytham will be hoping for a repeat of its best small coastal resort gold of last year, while St Annes will be aiming to build on its large coastal resort gold, Top award winners in their respective section last year also included Kirkham, Freckleton and Elswick and they all are among the awards hopefuls along with Ansdell, Wrea Green and Staining plus various community sites and buildings across the Fylde.
The regional presentations are in Southport next Friday, October 30.