Still blooming despite missing out on top win

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Belper has struck gold again!

For the blooming marvellous work of local residents has seen the town clinch yet another gold award in the East Midlands in Bloom competition.

Belper Town Council Leader, councillor John Nelson, who helps to drive efforts and organises the town’s annual entry into the competition, collected a certificate last week in a ceremony at Nottingham. It is now on display at St John’s Chapel, at The Butts.

Cllr Nelson said: “We scored exactly the same number of points as last year and missed out on being category winner by just one point, so it was very, very close.

“I’m disappointed not to win the category, but we still received a gold award and have done so for five years now, which is an achievement in itself.

“I’m very proud and want to say a big thank-you to the people of Belper because without the whole community working together and their commitment, we couldn’t have done it.”

The theme of this year’s competition was marking 100 years since the outbreak of the World War One. Army cadets and other volunteers planted poppies at various sites around the town, including the memorial ground. Seeds from the flowers have been collected so that they can be re-sown.

Despite its title, Cllr Nelson explained the competition was not just about planting flowers, but also to make sure that the town was kept clean and tidy.

He said there were so many groups involved in doing this in Belper that it would be impossible to name them all.

“I can’t ask any more from them,” he added, “and that’s what makes it worthwhile. All these volunteers come forward and we’ve won gold, which is the top award, so the last thing we are is disheartened. It’s tremendous.”

And Cllr Nelson is hoping Belper will score just as much success in the Britain in Bloom competition. Results will be announced on 16 October.

Cllr Nelson and the late Jack McKee began to promote a clean-up of the town more than 20 years ago.