Friday, 23 August 2019

Bloom judges serenaded

Bloom judges serenaded

A REFURBISHED boat filled with plants was among the highlights of a tour taken by two Britain in Bloom judges who visited Goring last week.

Keith Jackson and Lee-Anne Bone were also serenaded by a violinist after a trip on the river.

Goring was chosen to be judged for the national competition’s small town category by the Royal Horticultural Society’s Thames and Chilterns region.

Mr Jackson and Mrs Bone were given a two-hour tour that took in High Street and the bridge, which are adorned with 46 hanging baskets and many containers with colourful flowers.

They also visited the car park wildflower meadow, the allotments and Glebe Ride corner where they met the cubs who had planted
sunflowers. The ext stop was the station where the Bloom group volunteers have transformed all four platforms with sustainable planting over the past two years.

From there it was on to Withymead Nature Reserve, a haven for wildlife by the River Thames and known for its reed beds and swathes of Loddon lilies.

The judges returned to Goring by boat, courtesy of John Calvert's L’Orage, a Dunkirk Little Ship.

At Goring lock they were greeted by Andy Taylor playing the Sailor’s Hornpipe on his violin before walking to the parish church for a presentation by pupils from Goring Primary School about their courtyard garden full of vegetables, fruit and flowers.

The judges were led by Stephanie Bridle, who chairs Goring in Bloom, and Janet Hurst, the secretary.

Committee member and project organiser Ron Bridle acted as chauffeur for the day.

Ms Hurst said: “Throughout the tour, sunflowers were predominant, both real and artificial, the latter thanks to a project organised by retired art teacher Rosie Brook.

“She involved people from all parts of the local community, including children and patients at the Sue Ryder Hospice at Nettlebed, to craft hundreds of beautiful blooms from recycled materials.

“The sunflowers were displayed all over Goring, by the mill and around the toilets in the car park as well as in all the shop windows, demonstrating the support for Bloom by local businesses.”

Mrs Brook explained the project to the judges before they had lunch with many of the Bloom volunteers, which was organised by the group’s treasurer, Gill Haigh.

Mrs Bridle said: “The judges enjoyed their tour of Goring but the standards are very high in the national competition. We are competing against seven other communities.

“The competition is only a part of our activities and our aim is to make Goring an attractive place year round for both residents and visitors.

“Although the judging is over, our marvellous volunteers will carry on watering, weeding and deadheading the plants in our care until the end of the season.”

The results will be announced in London on October 25.

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