A community to be proud of

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As the leaves begin to fall and autumn draws, the horticultural year enters its dormant period.

Gardeners start to unwind, tidy up and to plan for next year.

The Whitby in Bloom Group are no exception. This has been an amazing year for Whitby and it is time to recognise those who have worked so hard to ensure that Whitby is recognised as a very special place.

The Bloom Group was formed in 1974. In 2007 having won Yorkshire in Bloom we were nominated as a finalist in Britain in Bloom. That year we won a Silver Medal in the national competition and learnt a lot about what was needed to compete against all the other coastal resorts in Britain. We were thrilled therefore last year to again win the Yorkshire in Bloom competition and be nominated as a finalist representing Yorkshire in the National Britain in Bloom Competition. Our success depended not only on outstanding horticultural standards but on our care of the environment and community participation. This is no mean task. It relies heavily on actions not words. Those who say ‘what YOU should do’ don’t improve the world. Those who DO, improve it for everyone. In Whitby we have been very proud to see so many DOERS this year.

I would both personally and on behalf of the Whitby in Bloom Group like to say a GREAT BIG THANK YOU you to all those who have helped the town to blossom. Much of what they have done has lasting value. So many people have given time and resources that my fear is that I miss saying thank you to someone, however here goes.

To the members of the Whitby in Bloom Group who have given the strategic direction, supported events and raised resources to enable new features across the town to be developed (nearly 20 in the last 10 years). Also for the many nights in summer when they refurbished the town’s street furniture, painting seats and signs, cleaning and litter picking. To the many other friends and neighbourhood groups who have cared for their particular areas; planting, lugging heaving watering containers through the hot days of early summer and lobbying to have local recycling facilities and helping to focus on areas of need for the borough’s cleansing teams. Routes and places of special interest have been cleared and planted to enable residents and visitors to enjoy both their ways to work and their leisure time. To all those who have entered the Town Garden Competition making private areas a joy to see. To all those who sponsor barrels, hanging baskets and horticultural features, spending their own money to improve the whole town. To the many formal groups who have advised and worked with us raising awareness about civic pride, local history, native flora and the appropriateness of our plans to reflect the real nature of Whitby. To those who have quietly given so many special things to help us; accommodation for our judges, transport and hospitality, time, plants and resources. To those who have kept a high profile for us and provided information on our activities and plans. To all the children who have developed their own gardening teams throughout the town. To the teams of gardeners and others employed by the town who worked well over and above their contracted hours and worked in true partnership for the good of all. I wish we could have sent you each a personal letter of thanks but our resources are very scarce and needed to enable us to improve horticulture first and foremost.

The result as you now know was the award of GOLD Medal and Best in Category for Coastal Resorts in Great Britain presented at The Fairmont, St Andrews, Scotland. Congratulations to all of you who made this possible. Well done. It must not be forgotten that each of you did what you did as a VOLUNTEER. This is both kind and generous. What more could a town want its citizens to be.

After almost 10 years as Chair of Whitby in Bloom I must now turn my attention to other priorities. I shall be sad to leave this group and its associate groups but the legacy lives on. Whitby is now acknowledged as the best. The challenge is now to keep it that way.

Susan Davies by email