Flower power earns prizes for gardeners

GARDENers across south east Northumberland are celebrating after winning top prizes in the Northumbria in Bloom contest.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony in Saltburn on Tuesday which saw hundreds of people, young and old, honoured for helping to brighten up their neighbourhoods.

For the sixth year, Morpeth was named best town, and it also received another gold award.

The Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade also picked up a gold award for best shopping precinct or retail park, and department store Rutherfords, in the town’s Bridge Street got gold for best individual commercial effort for the upkeep of external premises.

Morpeth town clerk Gillian Turner said: “I am really thrilled.

“I think this is the sixth year Morpeth has received the trophy for best town.

“There has been a massive community effort, and that is what helps us quite a lot. I am so proud.”

Elsewhere in the county, Ashington and Cramlington each received a silver award in the category for best large town and Newbiggin picked up bronze in the best coastal resort class.

Seaton Sluice was also awarded bronze in the best small town category.

Holywell received a silver gilt for the category of best large village, while New Hartley picked up a silver award in the same category.

Clive Raper, chairman of New Hartley Community Association, said: “It’s one up on last year, when we received a bronze, so it’s very good and I’m very pleased.

“Hopefully, this will drive us on for a gold next year.”

Eileen Burn, chairman of Northumbria in Bloom, said: “Towns, villages and local authorities have faced up to the challenges of the year with tremendous enthusiasm and imagination.

“Everyone is to be congratulated on their contributions to these great results.

“We need cheer and uplift in these times, and that is exactly what we have found in our visits round the north east, with wonderful floral and visual delights produced by hard-working and dedicated communities.”