Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: Britain In Bloom


If you've ever wondered how there can be quite so many murders in Midsomer, look no further than Britain in Bloom. It tells you all you need to know about how seriously people can take things when it comes to the very local.

And DCI Barnaby had better be on the lookout, because for the next two weeks the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom judges are taking their highly prestigious clipboards around the entire British Isles to check out the finalists for this furiously
contested title.

If you're not familiar with Britain in Bloom, it's considerably more intriguing than simple floral showing-off.

As in the FA Cup, some of the most satisfying stuff goes on at the very lowest levels of the competition, as even the smallest scheme gets help to find funding and recognition for improvement made. (For example check out this scheme to improve a churchyard in Torbay which was a coat-hanger dumping ground for the town's regular shoplifters before the team got to work.)

But if you want one of those coveted signs for the whole town recognising its "Britain in Bloom" status, you will have to be in it for the long haul. The judging taking place this August is on towns that qualified last year, to ensure a certain consistency of achievement (no last minute running out to Homebase here, then).

And the judges are scary. Well, I think so anyway. Check out the rules on litter and graffiti. Eek. I'm going outside with a bin-bag right now. 

So here are the shortlisted towns in full: 

Champion of Champions - Nottingham (large city), Heysham (small village), Alness
(small town), St. Ives & Carbis Bay (town), Darly (village)

Large City - London Borough of Croydon, Belfast, Sheffield

City – Solihull, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Tameside, Aberdeen

Small City – Stevenage, Mansfield, Gateshead, Taunton, Banbury

Large Town – Kendal, Buxton, Douglas, St. Hellier, Coleraine, Whickham, Perth, Bicester, Caerphilly

Town – Bridgnorth, Nantwich, Enniskillen, Morpeth, Forres, Rustington

Small Town - Frinton-on-Sea, Cricklade, Wareham, Dunnington

Large village - Kirkby Stephen, Market Bosworth, Upton upon Severn, Woolton, Falkland, Limpsfield Cayton

Village – Filby, Scarva, Earsdon, East Budleigh, Raglan

Small village – Scotlandwell, Ravenfield

Urban Regeneration - Chapelfield (Norwich), Leicester, Seedley and Langworthy

Urban Community – Moseley, Dyce, Clifton Village (Bristol), Wolverton and Greenleys, Starbeck

Small Coastal Resort – Herm, St. Brelade, Whitehead, North Berwick, Cemaes Bay

Large Coastal Resort – Felixstowe, Southport, South Shields, Exmouth, South Sea, Scarborough

(Picture from Douglas Borough Council, Isle of Man website)

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