Community spirit is not the only thing blooming in Belper - after the town scooped a hat-trick of awards in a top regional competition.
Belper celebrated success in the recent East Midlands in Bloom contest, winning a gold award and being crowned joint winners in the Large Town category alongside Market Harborough, with both receiving 174 points.
Cllr John Nelson, Leader of Belper Town Council, who organise the town’s entry into the competition, said: “We’re back where we belong - I’m absolutely delighted.
“I would like to thank all of the people of Belper who have got involved. It really has been a joint effort involving the whole community.”
The judges, who visited the town on July 8, praised the quality displays by pubs and restaurants, as well as the contribution of the town council grounds staff.
Other areas of note included the Yarn Bombing and art trail, the wildlife planting and artwork at the railway station.
The report noted: “The judges enjoyed the diverse tour filled to the brim with nature reserves, beautiful front gardens and volunteers galore. Whilst the mist and rain may have descended on the day, it didn’t fade the flowers of the enthusiastic bloom group.
“The whole town overflows with history and the interpretation of that history is well documented in numerous locations across the town.
“Across the town there are so many groups of people doing such good work to improve the town for everyone’s benefit, this should be commended.”
The contribution of Rough Truffles and Chevin Singers, who performed ‘A Song for Belper’ on the judging day, was acknowledged with a Judges Award.
And making it a hat-trick of wins, Strutts Community Centre Raingarden was crowned Best New Landscape, beating competition from gardens in 63 villages, towns and cities across six counties.
The Trent Rivers Trust’s Senior Project Manager, Julie Wozniczka, has led the project from start to finish and is delighted with the end result.
“People have been fascinated by our raingarden and it is beautiful too. In an urban setting, impermeable surfaces mean rainfall runs very quickly to the drains,” she commented.
“Our raingarden lets the water act more naturally, trickling, soaking and flowing slowly, reducing pollution and flooding.”
Funded by the Environment Agency, the raingarden was designed by Bob Bray Associates and constructed by Pugh Lewis Ltd. It was planted and is maintained by a committed group of volunteers.