Belper has swooped to victory for the fourth year running in the East Midlands In Bloom awards - winning gold in the best large town category.
The success, driven by the town’s Belper in Bloom committee, came during a presentation night in Skegness during which the town was pitted against some of the most attractive places in the region in what judges called the “most difficult” category.
Fending off the likes of Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough the town was also the overall category winner and Meadow Court, in the town, received a judges’ award for its contribution.
Meanwhile, the village of of Milford had its best ever showing in the large village category - scooping a Silver Gilt award.
The first time the village entered – two years ago – it won Silver and organisers said the fact the village was presented with a higher award this time showed an improvement.
In total, 55 community groups entered the Bloom awards from across the East Midlands region. Each of the entries was judged during July on horticultural expertise, the maintenance of the local environment and the involvement of all sectors of the local community.
Chairman of Belper in Bloom John Nelson, said: “The whole of Belper got involved. When we all went up for the prize-giving the judges said it was the most difficult category to win and my stomach was really fluttering - even though we had won it previously you never expect to win it.
“The town has been absolutely stunning this year again. I can’t thank any individual because I would forget somebody - I just want to say a big thankyou to everyone for being so supportive.”
The 2013 East Midlands in Bloom Awards Presentation was held at the Grand Central in Skegness, Lincolnshire.
Mr Nelson travelled to the event along with town clerk Roz Bullimore. In Bloom judges visited the town and inspected the River Gardens, St John’s Chapel, the Market Place, The Coppice, Memorial Gardens, Morrisons island, Herbert Strutt Primaryb School, Beaurepaire Gardensd, Wyver Lane Nature Reserve and Belper Cemetery.
The town’s success means that it is once again eligible for the Britain in Bloom awards next year. Organisers were unable to enter this year, despite claiming gold in 2012 as towns are only allowed to enter every year in two.
Jeff Bates, Chairman of East Midlands in Bloom, said: “It is very pleasing to see that there is growing interest from communities to work together and improve quality of the environment where they live. The awards show that high standards are being maintained and there are many examples of projects that have delivered long lasting improvements. We are also very grateful to our commercial sponsors who support the Bloom and enable us to inspire local groups and individuals within our region.”