Sunday, 21 July 2019

Village gets ready for bloom judges’ visit

Village gets ready for bloom judges’ visit

RESIDENTS of Goring are being urged to do their bit to help the village win its first national gold award in Britain in Bloom.

The Goring Gap in Bloom committee wants villagers to spruce up their gardens and help keep the streets clean and tidy in the run-up to two visits by judges from the Royal Horticultural Society.

On July 17, they will assess the village in the small town category of the competition’s Thames and Chilterns region, in which Goring has previously won four gold medals and two silver gilts.

They will return on August 1 to judge it for the national finals, Last year, it was shortlisted with 176 points out of 200 as well as being awarded the society’s Pride of Place award.

The committee is to send a leaflet to every home along the judges’ route with a list of ideas for leaving a good impression.

Residents will be urged to clear weeds from footpaths and gutters and pick up rubbish in front of their properties. In previous years, Goring has lost points in the “pride of place” category for having overflowing bins so villagers are encouraged to dispose of their rubbish at home and not pile it into bins which are already full.

Volunteers have put up about 45 hanging baskets with purple, pink and white flowers and installed new planters at the station off Gatehampton Road.

These were planted up at the home of Stephanie Bridle, who chairs the committee, using baskets with their own water reservoirs.

Mrs Bridle, of Cleeve Road, said the recent hot weather had helped the plants to flourish so the village was looking beautiful.

She said: “It’s a very busy time of year, especially with us being in the nationals, but I think those baskets must be the best in the country. I’ve been looking at the baskets in other towns and while they’re nice ours are just amazing.

“We’re hoping they remain that way for the next few weeks and, barring any pestilence or act of God, they should still be in good condition for the judges.”

The station planters were installed by Network Rail’s contractor Hochtief. These are supplied by a new rainwater tank.

Mrs Bridle said: “They’ve been amazingly supportive. We asked for their advice as we knew it would be difficult to install anything on the central platform and they did it for us.”

The committee is planning several new features at the entrances to the village, including Goring lock, which it is keeping secret until a few days before the first inspection.

Art teacher and keen gardener Rosemary Brook, who lives in Whitchurch Hill, has been encouraging residents to make models of sunflowers from recycled materials and these will be displayed in shop windows in High Street. The village’s 2nd cub group has planted real sunflowers on a patch of the Gardiner recreation ground.

Mrs Bridle said: “The objective is to make the village look absolutely lovely to live in before the first visit and there’s a lot of pressure but I’m confident we’ll get over the finish line as we have a lot of volunteers kindly giving their time.

“We’re still a bit short on numbers but everyone is working very hard and hopefully our notes will make residents more aware and keen to support what’s going on. If even a few people take it up to start with, their neighbours will then do the same.

“It would be wonderful to win and I think the work we’ve already done has raised our profile. Rosemary approached us after reading in the Henley Standard about everything we’ve done.

“I’ve heard from a few people who aren’t too keen as they feel we have too many visitors already but they’re clearly not local businesses or estate agents!”

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