St. Brelade victorious in 2009 Britain in Bloom Competition
by Margaret Holland Prior
The story began in the summer of 2008, following the judging of the Island’s Parish in Bloom competitions, when St Brelade won the Best Coastal Parish. This achievement meant that St. Brelade was entered in the finals of The Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom 2009 Competition, in the Small Coastal Resort category, for a population under 12,000. The ‘In Bloom’ committee had experienced a taste of this competition when the parish took part in the 2008 Awards, in which they were runner-up to Herm.
After a year of encouraging the parishioners to plant and tidy, making sure the Parish was as clean as possible, with the public spaces brightly planted, the Britain in Bloom judges, David Littlewood and Sue Wood came for the inspection of St. Brelade in early August.
Committee members, Reg Langlois and Co-ordinator Margaret Holland Prior travelled to Torquay to attend the RHS Presentations, held on 25th September.
There they joined with some 450 participants at the Rivera International Centre for a sparkling presentation. The tension was high with so many awards meaning so much to so many people
The awards began, and each category of finalists lined up beside the stage waiting to be called forward. Fortunately for St Brelade, the Small Coastal Award was the fourth on the list, so the waiting did not continue for too long. St Brelade was the last of the four other finalists; it was a nail biting wait. Hayle, South West region, achieved a Silver Gilt; Hunstanton, Anglia region, a Silver Gilt; Lytham, North West region, a Silver Gilt; Swanage, South, a Silver. Then it was the turn of St Brelade .... and to the very great delight and surprise of Reg and Margaret, the Parish was announced as winners of the Gold Award.
Next was the Category winner. Presenter, Mark Wasilewski, vice-chairman of the RHS Britain in Bloom Judging Panel, began talking of the winner having sea on three sides and large areas of cliff walks, the screens showed images of the Parish and it was announced that St Brelade was the winner!
Reg and Margaret went on stage, and were presented with an engraved glass trophy by Toby Buckland (pictured above). They were also congratulated by Roger Burnett, Chairman of the panel of Judges and by Sue and David, the Category Judges.
Finally, it was the judges’ Discretionary Awards. St Brelade was nominated for the Floral Award, the Conservation and Environment Award, and the Tourism Award. St Brelade’s Bay Hotel won the RHS Britain in Bloom Commercial Award.
St Brelade achieved more mentions and publicity than any other community – it was an extraordinary evening – a true celebration of the achievements of all in the Parish.
Parish in Bloom Committee: Margaret Holland Prior, Reg Langlois, Jeff Hathaway, Graeme Truscott and Connétable Mike Jackson.