Halstead triumphs at Anglia in Bloom awards with three golds

Colin Bailey(left), Anglia in Bloom chairman Bob Ollier (middle) and Halstead Town Councillor Shirley Diver
Colin Bailey(left), Anglia in Bloom chairman Bob Ollier (middle) and Halstead Town Councillor Shirley Diver

Halstead triumphed at this year’s Anglia in Bloom awards after winning three glittering accolades.

The annual competition, which marked its 21st anniversary on Thursday, celebrates the improvement of green spaces through imaginative ideas while achieving a litter-free and sustainable environment.

Halstead Town Councillor Shirley Diver (left), Anglia in Bloom chairman Bob Ollier and Halstead in Bloom member Margaret Tyler

Halstead Town Councillor Shirley Diver (left), Anglia in Bloom chairman Bob Ollier and Halstead in Bloom member Margaret Tyler

Volunteers from Halstead in Bloom won gold in the town category for the ninth year running, achieving top marks for horticulture, environment and community involvement.

Halstead in Bloom secretary Julia Smith said she was thrilled with another successful year.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “Each year, I feel butterflies and cross my fingers.”

In her report, judge Sue Hacon said she was impressed by the town’s hands-on approach.

“We felt there was a really good community feel to the whole of the town,” she said.

Mrs Hacon noted the cleanliness of the River Colne, which she visited during a walk around the town.

Youngsters impressed with their garden and allotment at Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, in Beridge Road.

“All of the children were very knowledgeable about the plants,” explained Mrs Hacon. “And they knew so much about what they were growing.”

Braintree District Council was awarded gold in the medium-sized parks category.

Council members worked in partnership with volunteers from Halstead in Bloom to create a drought and sensory garden at The Public Gardens, in Trinity Street.

“It has developed into something that is really quite special,” said Mrs Hacon.

“The whole of the town really appreciates it.”

Colin Bailey, 76, won the grow your own category after transforming a disused grass verge into a small allotment at a sheltered housing complex in Adam’s Court.

He has made most of the space by growing a range of vegetables, including runner beans up a lamppost.

“It was absolutely immaculate,” said Mrs Hacon. “And everybody in the complex can share the fruits of his labour.”

Mr Bailey said he was thrilled to finally win after competing for nine years.

“I was over the moon,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in gardening.”

Mr Bailey enjoys the fresh produce with his wife, Hazel, and delivers vegetables to elderly neighbours.

“They really appreciate them and you can’t beat fresh veg,” he added.