Plants stolen from award-winning Washington Village - community donates ten times what was stolen

Villagers left distraught after their prize-winning blooms were stolen have been overwhelmed with the generous response from the community.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 6:00 am
Award-winning plants stolen in Washington Village

The green-fingered team behind Washington Village’s impressive flora took the best village title at the Northumbria in Bloom competition earlier this year.

But just months later, villagers were devastated when some of their plants – including new blue and purple pansies worth over £100 – went missing from Spout Lane.

Joan Atkinson, chairwoman of Washington Village in Bloom, said: “It's really awful when you think that all of our funds for planting etc are from donations from local businesses and residents and then someone comes along and steals from our planters.”

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Gavin from Elm Tree, which donated 30 primulas to Washington Village to replace the stolen plants

The sadness turned to joy, however, when the community rallied round to replace the plants, raising more than ten times the value of the stolen flowers.

After hearing the news, the Beacon of Light School and nearby Elm Tree Farm Centre offered to replace the stolen plants by donating 30 primulas to the village.

And at the Washington Village annual Christmas light switch on, Washington in Bloom held a raffle and asked residents to contribute to their collection box, raising more £1000 in response to the theft.

Joan was overwhelmed by the community's reaction to what had happened.

Replacement plants delivered by the community to Washington Village

She said: “The whole community has come together. It’s just lovely that everyone can rally round after such a horrible act.”

Due to being named best village in the Northumbria in Bloom competition earlier this year, Washington Village will go to represent the North East in the National Britain in Bloom competition next year.

Judges said of the village, which achieved a Gold award as well as being named 'Best Village Overall’: “Washington village is an unexpected oasis surrounded by a sea of industrial parks and modern suburbia.

“Its many trees and beautiful village centre make it easier to believe you are in a much more rural location. It is clear from the quality of the floral displays, the street furniture and shop displays that residents greatly appreciate the efforts of the Bloom team, all of which contribute to the charm of the village.”

Washington Village Christmas light switch-on, where more £1,000 was raised
Replacement plants have been donated to Washington village