The accolade is the highest bestowed in the Bloom campaign, which is governed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The results of the competition were announced at a ceremony in Bristol. Shrewsbury was among 71 finalists to be considered for the Champion of Champions title this year, which also marks the 50th anniversary of Britain in Bloom. Judges visited the town during the summer when the many floral displays and public green spaces were moderated against exacting standards. Judges take into consideration three key criteria – horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility, and assess public spaces such as parks, city or town centres and communal gardens, as well as natural spaces including wildflower meadows and conservation areas. They score finalists on a comprehensive range of factors from recycling and waste management or condition of street furniture, to how much young people are aware of, and engaged with, Britain in Bloom initiatives.
Shrewsbury’s horticultural success follows hot-on-the-heels of the town being crowned the most courteous in the UK by the National Campaign for Courtesy earlier this year. Town Clerk, Helen Ball, attributes the town’s success to an overarching ‘Team Shrewsbury’ approach including, not only the Town Council, but also Shropshire Council, West Mercia Police and local businesses and communities. “Shrewsbury is a town where everyone pulls together for the greater good,” she said. “Our success in the Bloom campaign is just one example of how our coordinated approach brings out the best in our local community. We will be building on this even more in the near future with the launch of Our Place, which will seek to promote civic pride of place and a greater pooling of resources and understanding to further embed the Team Shrewsbury ethos across the board. “To be crowned Champion of Champions, especially in this auspicious year, the 50th anniversary of the Britain in Bloom campaign, shows how, by working together, we can make Shrewsbury an even better place to live, work and visit.”
Jackie Brennand, chairman of Shrewsbury in Bloom added: “This is a fantastic result for Shrewsbury, to be crowned Champion of Champions is true testament to our horticultural legacy – the late, great Percy Thrower would be proud. “At the regional heats the judges suggested that instead of branding Shrewsbury as a town of flowers, we should look to market ourselves as THE town of flowers, highlighting once again that Shrewsbury is indeed an Original One–Off. With the Champions title now firmly under our belt, this is a mantle we will strive to uphold. Congratulations to all involved.”
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