Judges’ praise for our horticultural heroes

Todmorden In Bloom. Marianne Sutcliffe, Norman Overend and Jean Butterworth.
Todmorden In Bloom. Marianne Sutcliffe, Norman Overend and Jean Butterworth.

VOLUNTEERS who have used flower power to brighten up the town during a dreadful summer have been rewarded for their efforts by Yorkshire in Bloom.

Judges gave Todmorden silver status in the town category of the 2012 Yorkshire in Bloom awards, praising Todmorden in Bloom for its great work and team effort in keeping the town’s floral displays looking beautiful despite the flooding.

There was also special recognition for two members of Todmorden in Bloom: chairwoman Jean Butterworth and secretary Marianne Sutcliffe, who both received a community champion award at the ceremony in York on Tuesday.

Commenting on the Bloom group’s work over the past 12 months, judges said: “The recent summer floods in Todmorden would have tested any resolve.

“But through sheer hard work and a great team effort, they still managed to have splendid floral displays for visitors and residents to enjoy and admire.”

Judges particularly liked the colour scheme and the barrier baskets used in Todmorden.

They also highlighted the partnership with Incredible Edible Todmorden for the Pollination Street planting, and good community participation, especially with the town’s schools.

There was special praise for contractors Volker Stevin, who judges said have been “going the extra mile to help Todmorden”.

Jean said the Bloom group had done its best in difficult circumstances.

“We thought the town looked brilliant in spite of all the bad weather,” she said.

“The weather was a challenge but everybody was up against the same thing.

“The team worked really, really hard. We are only a small group but we all enjoy doing what we do.

“At the end of the day, it’s about our town and its people.

“The competition keeps you focused but we do it mainly to keep the town looking good and I think we achieve that.

“It puts a smile on people’s faces. The majority of people really appreciate what we do.”

Referring to the community champion award for Jean and Marianne, judges said: “Their infectious enthusiasm, drive and commitment has seen the group prosper and become an easily recognised community organisation within Todmorden.”

Jean said she and Marianne accepted the award on behalf of the entire Bloom group.

“In accepting this award, we find it extremely difficult to grasp how Yorkshire in Bloom should single out two of us,” Jean said.

“We work, plan and do everything as a team and for that reason we consider the award to belong to every member of Todmorden in Bloom.”

Looking to the future Jean said, with the help of more members, the group could go for gold in 2013.

“We’ll keep going on and keep improving the town,” she said.

“We have one or two areas earmarked for next year. The hard work carries on.

“If anybody has a spare hour or two, they are very welcome to come and spend it with us.”