Town wins gold as it shows it’s a cut above in gardening challenge

Deputy town clerk Paul Fletcher, Seaham mayor Councillor Sonia Forster, town council leader Eddie Bell and Marie Davies of sponsor Andrew James.
Deputy town clerk Paul Fletcher, Seaham mayor Councillor Sonia Forster, town council leader Eddie Bell and Marie Davies of sponsor Andrew James.
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A town has been hailed as a shining example after scooping gold for its floral flare.

Seaham has won the top title in the Northumbria In Bloom competition, with its transformation from a “polluted coal mining town” into a vibrant and welcoming place to live and visit.

Seaham has won gold in the coastal resort section of Northumbria in Bloom.

Seaham has won gold in the coastal resort section of Northumbria in Bloom.

The award has been presented to Seaham Town Council, which has taken care of its displays and upkeep, with the support of residents and businesses, who have supported the effort through litter picks along its beaches, planted daffodils and painted railings and put up their own displays.

People have also funded art installations, including Ray Lonsdale’s Tommy statue, which has made the town world famous, and the poppy pebbles project at the foot of the piece in the lead up to last year’s Remembrance Day service, with the Art Block gallery in Church Street also credited with boosting the town.

A community allotment project has also been running from Dawdon, with school pupils also getting involved in running plots.

The judges also recognised the efforts of volunteers, as well as Durham County Council’s work.

The grounds staff here at Seaham Town Council have been through an evolution and at times a revolution in their horticultural practices.

Paul Fletcher

The added; “The beautiful beaches and parks, the central tourist, business, pub and shopping areas along the seafront, the sensational Terrace Green public entertainment space, well designed planting, varied artwork and good landscaping throughout and a keen acknowledgement of natural and local heritage coupled with energetic efforts to keep it clean and tidy, have resulted in a sparking town thronged with happy residents and visitors.”

Deputy town clerk Paul Fletcher said: “The individual designs of flower beds are done by the gardeners themselves.

“High quality plants are bought in on the theme of sustainability and the gardeners are free to place them how they feel best.

“They also know the sites individual characteristics better than anyone after maintaining them for years.

“The grounds staff here at Seaham Town Council have been through an evolution and at times a revolution in their horticultural practices.

“In the past they plant out seasonal, regimented bedding plants in all its flower beds such as winter pansies and begonias.

“Now they are designing their own sustainable planting schemes with plants, shrubs and bulbs that stay in year after year and keep getting better and better.

“These planting schemes provide much more height, colour and interest throughout the year.”

A BLOOMIN’ GOOD EFFORT

Other winners include Durham, which took the best overall entry and its Percy Boydell Award, with Durham BID given gold in the Best City or Town Centre or BID, Durham Botanic Garden given gold, and the Court Inn given the same grade for Best Pub or Hotel.

Belmont Scrambles, a wildlife site in the city, was given gold in the Best Conservation section, while the area was given a silver gilt in the Urban Community category.

Roz Layton from the city was given an Outstanding Contribution award for her voluntary work on St Oswald’s churchyard and Stockton Road Cemetery.

Low Pittington was given a merit in the Small Villages competition, while Washington Village took gold and High Pittington was given bronze in the villages section.

Paid workers recognised included Brian Palmer and Philip Robson, both of Durham, for their contribution to public horticulture for more than 40 years.

Richard Avenue Primary School in Sunderland took gold in the Growing Together For Schools section.

Chester-le-Street was the top winner in the Large Towns contest.