More must be done if town is to truly shine

BLOOMING MAVELLOUS: The triumphant team of Halstead in Bloom.
BLOOMING MAVELLOUS: The triumphant team of Halstead in Bloom.
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SUDBURY deserved its silver gilt in the Anglia in Bloom awards despite needing a last-gasp scramble to be ready for the competition, according to one of the organisers.

The town once again missed out on the elusive gold award, but Nick Irwin, who launched a stinging attack on the area for looking weed-infested in the run up to the floral contest, said huge credit should go to the Sudbury in Bloom committee.

“Considering the town wasn’t looking its best, the judges could see the hard work that had gone in and we are very pleased with what we achieved,” said Mr Irwin, who has been committee chairman for 14 years.

Fifteen apprentices from Delphi Automotive Systems were drafted in to spruce up the town after Mr Irwin spoke out about unkempt roundabouts and overgrown verges, while staff from Waitrose also vowed to help out.

Although the effort paid dividends – Sudbury also won a biodiversity award for its common lands and was nominated for the work of the recycling project at Sudbury Community Hub – more needed to be done, said Mr Irwin.

“Sudbury in Bloom is not just a one-week thing,” he said. “I don’t want to see us scrapping around in the last few weeks.

“Sudbury is a beautiful town, but it is looking a bit seedy at the moment. If there was a concentrated effort from all parties throughout the year, it would make a big difference.”

He highlighted the example of Halstead, which won the town section and was named overall winner. It has a strong team of volunteers and drew praise from the competition’s chairman.

“With 17 gold awards this year, the competition was very close, but Halstead should be congratulated on its achievement of consistent high marks across all the key criteria in all sections of the competition,” said Bob Ollier.

Joanne Gibson, a member of the Halstead in Bloom team since its inception in 1999, said hundreds of hours had gone into ensuring the town looked it best.

“We held regular meetings, planted 10,000 plants and had working parties litter picking, weeding perimeter fences and keeping gutters clear,” she said.

“It is a real team effort and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes.”

She added: “We are all still on a bit of a high and were stunned when we won. It is an enormous achievement.”

q Anyone interested in volunteering to help Sudbury in Bloom should contact Mr Irwin by email at nhjirwin@hotmail.com or by calling the town council on 01787 372331.