Hopes for a blooming great result for town

Organisers of Belper’s Britain in Bloom bid will learn whether the town has been named as the best in the UK at a ceremony on Saturday.

Leader of the town council, John Nelson, is making the journey to a prestigious awards presentation in St Peter Port, Guernsey this weekend.

Belper faces Huntingdon, Stone, St Helier, Dumfries, Chichester, Truro, Coleraine, Rhyl and Knaresborough in the large town category.

Finalists will be awarded RHS Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze medals.

There is also an award for best in category, as well as special discretionary awards given for achieving excellence in particular fields.

Cllr Nelson, who will make the trip to the finals with wife Maureen, said: “I dare not even contemplate winning at the moment but it would be the achievement of all achievements if we did.

“We are playing with the big boys now – we are not in the lower levels of the competition.

“If there was an award for the effort that the people of Belper have put into this it wouldn’t be a gold award – it would be a platinum award.

“The community involvement that has gone into this is phenomenal with community groups investing time, people opening their gardens and people putting out hanging baskets and the like.

“They are the ones that have made it happen and allowed us to get this far.”

Deputy Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom National Judging Panel, Jeff Bates, visited Belper on August 3 along with fellow judge Brendan Mowforth and was shown around beauty spots including the Memorial Gardens and River Gardens.

The town won entry to the competition after 15 years of trying and two gold medals in the East Midlands in Bloom contest.

It was one of just 72 finalists picked from several thousand entries into the Royal Horticultural Society run competition.