Published: Wednesday, 25 October 2023
Oadby & Wigston has represented the East Midlands on the national stage at this year’s Britain in Bloom competition landing a ‘Silver Gilt’ award, the second highest achievement possible.
The competition is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, with the results revealed earlier this week at a ceremony in London.
Oadby & Wigston was one of only four finalists in its ‘Small City’ category, and competition was stiff with Overall Winner from across all 44 finalists, Newcastle-under-Lyme, in the same category alongside Derry and Royal Tunbridge Wells.
The borough was also one of just three entrants to be also put forward for a Discretionary 'Horticultural Excellence Award'. In particular the judges recognised Nova Laboratories in South Wigston, where they commented that ‘the horticultural standard was surpassed’.
Judges toured the borough back in July, visiting the best floral displays and green spaces Oadby & Wigston has to offer, finishing at the University of Leicester’s Botanic Garden.
As well as looking for horticultural excellence, the judges were also assessing environmental responsibility and community participation, and met with local volunteer and gardening groups, including South Wigston Community Garden and Oadby Baptist Church, to hear about the work they do and the benefits they bring to the local community.
Oadby & Wigston was selected to progress to the national finals after receiving a twelfth ‘Gold’ award at the regional East Midlands in Bloom award in summer 2022.
The entry was co-ordinated by Pride of the Borough, a group of individuals, civic societies, community action groups and neighbourhood groups who all work together to encourage people to take a pride in the area. The entry was also supported by Oadby & Wigston Borough Council (OWBC), with the judges’ report commenting that: “This is an impressive community ably supported by all levels of the council... the sense of enjoyment and pride in everyone we met was infectious.”
Simon Lucas, Chair of Pride of the Borough, said “For us to be recognised like this in our 20th anniversary year makes it extra special. Our aim as an organisation is to improve our environment while getting the local community involved, and I can’t think of a better realisation of that goal.
“Our members, volunteers and the council’s Clean and Green team invest a massive amount of effort year-round to make our borough look its best and they should be very pleased with this result.
“We don’t just do it for the competitions however, and I hope that local residents have enjoyed our floral displays and green spaces, as well as our efforts to make the borough a cleaner and greener place for us all to live.”
Councillor Ian Ridley, Chair of the Environment Working Group at OWBC, said “Being asked to represent the whole East Midlands region at this level is a huge honour for the borough, and is a fantastic reward for the effort which goes into entering each year’s In Bloom competition.
“Achieving a Silver Gilt award in the face of such strong competition is a true achievement, and really is a testament to the strength of our community and the dedication of Pride of the Borough.
“Everyone involved should be very proud of all their hard work – thank you and congratulations!”