Boston was certainly blooming and looking radiant this morning in the sunshine as the East Midlands in Bloom (EMIB)  judges viewed our town’s efforts.

Judges Richard Stephen and Jenni Oliver were shown around our town by Alison Fairman, Chair of Boston in Bloom and Nathan Bryant, marketing co-ordinator.

Judges arrive at Willoughby Road Allotments

As we have said in previous years, in-bloom judges don’t give a lot away. They look and listen attentively, take photographs and notes, nod sagely, make polite conversation and then disappear to consider a town’s fate.

But when you are a four-time gold award winner, you can’t help but feel hopeful when you hear the judge say: “I wouldn’t expect anything less”. And then goes on to say how seeing changes from his first visit, our first year of entering in 2012 has been “a real pleasure” he has seen lots of new things, met new people, and really loves to see places progress.

The ongoing improvements/regeneration of the Market Place was commented on along with the newest business opening very soon “Sam’s Traditional Fish and Chip Restaurant”.

Could it be gold for Boston again this year? We will find out in September when the team attend the East Midlands in Bloom awards ceremony in Chesterfield.

For now judges Richard and Jenni have applauded the work embarked upon by volunteers and partnership agencies.

The two judges toured Boston today visiting areas including Fydell House, Custom House Quay, Market Place, White Hart Hotel, B&M open spaces and the police station raised beds, St Botolph’s Church grounds, Wormgate, Pescod Square, Memorial Gardens, Bargate Green, Central Park and Haven High Academy.

Along the way meeting Fydell House volunteer gardeners, in-bloom volunteers and “planting posse”, Dom Solesbury, Brian Charity, Kaye Robinson, sponsors, church volunteers, business owners, members of the business community, Pescod Square manager, Tony Cammack, Veterans Group representative, Francis Taylor, Emma Firth and pupils from Haven High Academy.

Paul discusses sunflowers with Richard

Last stop was Willoughby Road Allotments where the judges were greeted by Paul Collingwood who then took them through the allotments showing them the new poly tunnel and admiring the effort and work put in by the allotment holders, community groups, nursery and school groups. The ongoing partnership “Fork to Plate” with the White Hart Hotel was also explained to the judges.

The Mayor then welcomed the judges to the site and thanked all who had been involved in this year’s campaign. He said he loves the outdoors, the fresh air and said it reminds him of when he was little. He is looking forward to taking his family down to the allotments in the near future.

Alison Fairman, Chairman of Boston in Bloom, said this is always a year-round effort, the community involvement has strengthened from year to year and this year had been “tremendous”.

She thanked all sponsors who without them some of the projects would have been impossible.

Afterwards Rachel Lauberts awarded the Robert Lauberts Environment and Community Award 2019 to Paul Collingwood, Chairman of the Willoughby Road Allotment Association.

This was awarded for his passion for horticulture, education, art and the local community. Dedication to getting involved in community projects and giving time and expertise to help individuals, groups and organisations. Working with the local college, schools and hotels. Securing funding for horticultural projects, raising money for local charities, helping organise events and now a judge of the Royal Horticultural Society for the “in-bloom competition”.

Robert Lauberts Award – Paul Collingwood

The visit ended with some light refreshments provided by Haven High Academy students.

Alison Fairman, Chair of Boston in Bloom, said: “To have an independent assessment from the Royal Horticultural Society is a bonus for Boston. We compare well with other towns. We encourage pride in our town and would hope that neighbourhoods can get together and enjoy where they live. We await the results in September and thank everyone for their wholehearted support.”

Nathan Bryant, marketing co-ordinator and creative designer for Boston in Bloom, said: “Throughout the day, judges seemed very impressed with what was on offer throughout the town, noting down a vast quantity of features, photographing even more, and Richard commented on the improvements we’ve made since his initial visit in 2012. A lot of hard work and effort has gone in to this year’s campaign, and my thanks to Alison and the other volunteers for everything they’ve done.”