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Gold for Boston in Bloom

Boston has done it again - walked away with its second gold in-bloom award. Last year it hit gold for the first time and on Wednesday (September 14) judges hard-pressed to separate the best of the best gave Boston another gold award.

East Midlands In Bloom said: "The standards in the large town category were the highest ever seen. Gold award winners in this category were separated by only three marks."

In addition, at the awards event in Mansfield, the Judges Award 2016 was presented to Boston for "the transformation of the B&M open space", recognising the enhancements made at this prominent site. A variety of partners were involved in supporting the transformation including Transported, Boston Borough Council, Witham Central and Carlton Road Neighbourhood Group, HMP North Sea Camp, Memory Lane, Lincolnshire County Council and Boston Big Local. The enhancement features landscaping improvements and new public art, including a mosaic to raise awareness of dementia.

And there was more to come. There were 22 entries in East Midlands Best School Garden 2016 and seven schools reached Gold standard, with Boston West Academy being announced the overall winner. It achieved an amazing mark of 97 out of 100.

Alison Fairman, chairman of the Boston In Bloom committee, said: "Everyone involved in this year's campaign has worked so hard - many volunteers give freely of their time, effort and expertise only because they love this town and want to make it even better. They have been ably supported by staff from the borough council, especially the parks and grounds team and all those who help keep the town looking clean and tidy. But it's an even bigger story than that - other organisations such as Transported Arts, Boston Big Local, Thistles Nursery for adults with learning disabilities, private and business sponsors, all those other agencies who take part in the annual Big Boston Clean-up and too many to mention individually; they all make a contribution for the good.

"After last year's gold, the action we had taken this year on last year's judge's comments and the comments of the judge after this year's tour, we were quietly confident. But you never know for sure until the results are announced. We are all absolutely delighted."

Cllr Claire Rylott, the borough council's portfolio holder for grounds and open spaces, could not attend the in-bloom awards as she was representing Boston in London at the Mayflower 400 launch - a developing celebration which began last year by all the parties involved of the exodus to the New World 400 years ago in 2020. The climax of that historical adventure was the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to found modern-day America in the Mayflower. But hundreds from Boston also made the hazardous journey to America where they established Boston, Massachusetts.

Cllr Rylott said: "This is fantastic, a big thank you to everyone who helped make this happen this year. Boston has much going for it if you look beyond the negativity."

Boston Mayor, Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, said: "I want to add my congratulations to all involved in these successes. I am especially impressed by the achievements of the staff and pupils at Boston West Academy. It is reassuring to know that the future adult citizens of our town have an appreciation at such an early age of what contributes to making Boston an even nicer place in which to live and work."

After his judging tour of Boston this year, Jeff Bates, who judged Boston's efforts last year and gave it its first gold award, said: "It has been nice to see new things. The temptation is to keep things as they are when a high standard has been achieved, but moving on with new projects is a really important part of bloom. The approach is getting a good base and going from there.

"Boston had a good base the year before. It has been a difficult season this year but Boston has embraced the Royal Horticultural Society's Greening the Grey project with its improvements to Doughty Quay and I have seen continued progress at Pilgrims Patch."

He applauded the work of volunteers saying: "It is the only way forwards, local authorities simply don't have the funds."

BiB gold 2016 Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Ian Farmer, from Boston Borough Council, left, and Alison Fairman, chairman of the Boston in Bloom committee, receive the town's second gold award.

BiB Boston West Academy award 2016 Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Representatives from Boston West Academy, delighted to receive the accolade for best school garden in the East Midlands.