Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Residents happy to win best small town in bloom

THE team behind Goring’s success in the Thames and Chiltern in Bloom competition say they are thrilled.

THE team behind Goring’s success in the Thames and Chiltern in Bloom competition say they are thrilled.

The village won the small town category for the first time in four years of entering and collected its second gold award.

The judges awarded Goring full marks for conservation and biodiversity and commended it for environmental responsibility and horticultural achievement.

They said the hanging baskets on the river bridge to Streatley “enhanced the environment” and the permanent planting on the island at Goring lock “provided the finishing touch”.

They also praised Keith Walker, of High Street, Goring, who cares for the cricket green at Gardiner Recreation Ground, off Upper Red Cross Road.

The Withymead nature reserve north of the village was singled out for its “constantly developing landscape management”. The judges were also impressed by the amount of signage around Goring and the well-preserved heritage buildings, which they said encouraged tourism.

Goring Gap in Bloom, a committee of volunteers led by Ron and Stephanie Bridle, of Cleeve Road, was praised for a “huge programme of work” which the judges said would be provided by paid employees in many other places.

Mrs Bridle, who attended the awards ceremony in Oxford last week, said: “We were thrilled to bits when we got a gold as we know their marking has become a lot tougher than it used to be and the competition was of a very high standard.

“It’s impressive considering we don’t have any paid assistance. It’s all down to persuading people to look after the areas around them.

“We’ll have a formal celebration soon, although I gather some people have already opened the bubbly!”

Goring, which enters the competition jointly with neighbouring Streatley, first competed in 2012 and won silver gilt. It was awarded its first gold award in 2013 and another silver last year.

Mrs Bridle said: “We’ve managed to attract a few more volunteers as our profile has increased, although we could still do with more help. Because of our planting at the recreation ground and the toilets, people have noticed us and offered to get involved, which is nice.

“Most people think Britain in Bloom is just about flowers but there is a lot more to it than that.

“The judges say we will go from strength to strength, which is encouraging. They have no idea how tired we are at the end of the day.”

One possible area of improvement is Rectory Gardens, off High Street, which is landscaped in plain grass with lime trees.

The parish council, which holds the land in trust, will not allow further planting as it was gifted to the community in the Thirties on condition that it remain unaltered.

However, the judges said they hoped the opportunity would arise for a “high-impact centrepiece of horticulture and focal point for village life”.

Mrs Bridle and her team would also like to plant more flowers at Goring station once its refurbishment is completed next year.

They plan to continue entering the contest but say they need help watering the hanging baskets, which must be done daily throughout summer. They hope the parish council will hire a contractor so that they can focus on planting and other projects.

Mrs Bridle said: “In a few days’ time we’ll be planting up the bulbs for next spring so we certainly aren’t resting on our laurels.”

• Goring Primary School was highly commended in the Mark Matlock Schools Challenge Award. Volunteer Mona Anderson helped pupils to plant flowers and grow vegetables which they took home to eat. The children also took part in planting projects around the village.

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