Nottingham, the largest city in the East Midlands, has been crowned Champion of Champions 2008 in the RHS Britain in Bloom Awards, the largest horticultural campaign in Europe. The awards ceremony, attended by over 450 gardening enthusiasts and community champions, was held at Chester Race Course, with special guest, TV gardener Chris Beardshaw, presenting the prizes.
RHS Britain in Bloom, supported by Shredded Wheat, presented 69 finalist communities, selected from over 1,000 competitors, with awards of Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver or Bronze. Nottingham triumphed over Alness, Darley, Heysham and St. Ives & Carbis Bay, the other competitors in the Champion of Champions category.
The 69 finalists were judged during the summer by RHS judges who travelled the length and breadth of the UK using every conceivable form of public transport available. Each entrant was judged on their floral displays, permanent landscaping, sustainable development, environmental initiatives, public awareness and community participation.
Special RHS Britain in Bloom Discretionary Awards were also given to thirteen entries that demonstrated excellence in a particular area. The 2008 theme was Local Roots and recognised the community that best encouraged activities and links between their unique local history or cultural diversity. Falkland, Gold and overall Large Village category winner were awarded the Local Roots Discretionary Award for cultural diversity and Morpeth were given the award for history.
Two new awards introduced this year were the RHS Britain in Bloom Young People’s Award and the Unannounced Judging Award. The young people’s award encourages finalists to actively engage participation from young people in the community. This award went to Forres, Gold award and overall Town category winner. St Helier, Silver Gilt winners in the Large/Town Small City (12-35k) category, and Herm, Gold and overall Coastal (12k and below) category winners, won the Unannounced Judging Award for performing best during the unannounced spring judging.
Roger Burnett Chair of the National RHS Britain in Bloom Judging panel said, "2008 has once again proved that the Britain in Bloom campaign recognises all that is great about Britain. Despite the poor summer weather the finalists proved beyond doubt just what can be achieved when communities work together.
“Britain in Bloom has, in the past, been seen as a floral competition, judged on the quality and quantity of hanging baskets and bedding plants. However with the recent shift towards sustainable planting and environmental responsibility, we are seeing fantastic innovation not only in style of planting but in the choice of plants used.”