Green-fingered volunteers’ efforts turn into rewards
GREEN-FINGERED volunteers celebrate after winning awards again in a national competition.
Seasoned activists North Berwick in Bloom and Blooming Haddington both won gold prizes at the Beautiful Scotland Awards from Keep Scotland Beautiful last Thursday.
Newcomers to the Gifford community also celebrated gold and took home the New Entrant award.
Aberlady in Bloom received a silver medal, while Dunbar in Bloom and the Blooming Belters, from Tranent, entered a new non-judged category and received a certificate of recognition.
The East Lothian Council was also successful, winning the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society Award. The award is given to the local authority which demonstrates the highest standard of horticulture in public spaces.
The East Lothian council developed a close bond with the local flowering groups and the judges considered the quality of bedding plants and overwintering plants to be excellent to see.
Libby Morris, President of North Berwick in Bloom, said: “I and the whole team are absolutely thrilled to win a gold medal. It’s just fantastic.
“It is also a testament to the many people who have helped us. We had tremendous help from the community of North Berwick, the people went out of their way.
“We have had so many volunteers over the past two years and people from other local groups wanted to work with us. Everyone wants the city to be beautiful.
She thanked the East Lothian Council Equipment Team for all their help and support, and also congratulated them on their award.
Frances Wright, president of Blooming Haddington, said the group was “delighted” with the success.
She told the Courier: “It’s a team effort, absolutely.
“We just had a group of people who are ready to do something where they live and work to make it a better place.”
Adam White of the Gifford Community Council described the success as “absolutely brilliant” and “fabulous”.
He revealed that the community only decided to enter the contest about a month before the deadline and took the time to praise a number of organizations for their efforts.
Mr White warmly commended the efforts of the Community Council, alongside the East Lothian Council, the Village Horticultural Society, Gifford Community Woodland and Yester House in ensuring that Gifford was worthy of gold.
He added: “The nicest thing was the best newcomer award.”
Ian Malcolm, of Aberlady in Bloom, was also delighted with the success.
He said: “We are very happy and more than enthusiastic to have achieved a gold medal in the Coastal Villages category in our first year of competition.
“All of the volunteers and organizations that have supported us should be very proud of the accomplishment. The judges observed in their report that the sense of belonging to Aberlady is palpable and that the community is the beating heart of the village. It’s so true.
“That the judges also recognized our efforts to make Aberlady a place to stop and linger instead of just crossing (carefully, we hope) is really great. Congratulations to everyone involved.
The prices were announced at an online virtual conference last week.
2021 being a big year for action on climate change and protecting biodiversity, the optional theme was ‘climate and nature friendly’ and all groups who signed up to participate received free seeds. adapted to pollinators to help create beautiful and flowery places #BeeDi.
All of the contest entrants developed new ways to ensure the places they care about are nurtured under the three pillars of community involvement, environmental responsibility, and gardening / horticultural achievement.
Barry Fisher, Managing Director of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We are in a climate and natural emergency, but we know that communities across Scotland have worked tirelessly to protect and improve their neighborhoods, reconnecting with the environment and their communities, despite the challenges that blockages have posed.
“Beautiful Scotland gives us a wonderful opportunity to recognize all the volunteer work done, and to celebrate and thank everyone who keeps Scotland beautiful. ”
East Lothian Provost John McMillan also offered his congratulations.
He added, “I am always impressed by the collective efforts of groups of volunteers, supported by our local planning teams, across the county who do so much to brighten up and improve the local environment through innovative plantings.
“It may have been appreciated even more this year, as people looked for more positive community initiatives after the challenges of the pandemic.
“I want to congratulate everyone involved and hope this inspires others to participate.”
Martin Whitfield, MSP South Scotland, added: “They have collectively helped make East Lothian the most successful Common Area at the 2021 Awards, which is a truly wonderful achievement.
“This latest achievement is a well-deserved recognition for all the hard work of the volunteers involved in keeping our towns and villages looking their best throughout the year.
“I am especially happy to see some newcomers recognized alongside more experienced local groups.