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Bury St Edmunds triumphs in floral competition despite ‘most challenging conditions’

PUBLISHED: 17:37 20 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 24 October 2018

Judges from Britain in Bloom visted the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds over the summer. Left to right: Rebecca Davis, Rae Beckwith, Margaret Marks, Damien Parker, Melanie Lesser, James Cordingley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Judges from Britain in Bloom visted the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds over the summer. Left to right: Rebecca Davis, Rae Beckwith, Margaret Marks, Damien Parker, Melanie Lesser, James Cordingley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Bury St Edmunds has secured a gold medal in a national floral competition during the “toughest year on record”.

The town was one of five communities representing the region in the national Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual Britain in Bloom awards.

Last night (October 19), at the awards ceremony in Belfast, Bury St Edmunds clinched gold for the large town category.

The picturesque town wowed with its ‘river of flowers’ at Tollgate triangle and stunning Abbey Gardens.

Hunstanton, Norwich, Wisbech and Woburn had also been picked to represent the Anglia region, and walked away with a haul of medals.

All of the groups battled what judges have declared the toughest year on record with communities nationwide fighting to keep blooms alive.

Darren Share, chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “This year’s finalists faced the most challenging conditions the competition has ever seen with much of the country under snow and ice at the start of spring followed by the joint-hottest summer on record.

“That so many groups have walked away with top medals is remarkable and a reflection of communities’ hard work, ingenuity and horticultural know-how.”

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom coordinator, said: “The judges were impressed with the warm welcome they received in the town as well as the various people who were involved across the community.

“They said the display in the Abbey Gardens was outstanding.”

Finalists are judged on their horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility, with the RHS judges visiting communities from the end of July after months of hot and dry weather.

The market town of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire won the Business Improvement District (BID), Town and City Centres category, joining Bury St Edmunds and Hunstanton in securing gold medals.

Woburn and Norwich added to the medal tally with a silver and silver gilt respectively.

A total of 76 groups from across the UK competed in 12 categories with each also vying for a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal.

The Anglian finalists collected their awards from Chris Bavin, presenter of BBC Two’s Britain in Bloom TV series and guest speaker at the awards ceremony.

The full results for RHS Britain in Bloom 2018 are here.

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