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Rugby strikes gold at Heart of England in Bloom

RUGBY set the gold standard for a 14th time in a row at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards.

Heart of England in Bloom
(left to right) The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Carolyn Watson-Merret, Colin Horton, Rugby Borough Council's green spaces officer, and Fiona James, the council's parks and grounds officer, at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards. Published Monday, 3rd October 2022

The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Carolyn Watson-Merret, attended the award ceremony at Birmingham's Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre, where Rugby was presented with a gold award in the 'small city' category.

The theme for this year's Rugby in Bloom was Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.

Judges were taken on a tour of the town in July, visiting Brownsover Community School, Caldecott Park, Rugby School, and the Great Central Way nature reserve.

In addition to the floral displays, which the judges described as a "horticultural delight," the tour included visits to a number of examples of the council's work to boost biodiversity and enhance the borough's environment.

Judges praised the council's RugBEE project, which has created pollinator-friendly environments to support the needs of bees and other pollinating insects, and the ongoing work to expand the Rugby Park Connector Network, which has so far delivered around 5,000 metres of new or improved pathways - illuminated by solar-powered lights - to create a network of 'green' travel corridors in the borough.

The judges also highlighted the fruits of the council's partnership with the Rotary Club of Rugby, Rugby Wildlife Group and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, which has created a thriving wildlife habitat and a place for education and recreation on the Great Central Way.

"This was a tour which demonstrated the core values and aspirations of In Bloom continue to go from strength-to-strength despite the disruption and impact of recent times," the judges said.

"The continued level of engagement across Rugby's diverse community, both young and old, is outstanding."

The council's parks and grounds team's efforts to keep the borough's parks and green spaces in peak condition during the pandemic was also recognised at the ceremony on Thursday 22 September, with Rugby receiving a special grounds maintenance award.

Cllr Watson-Merret said: "Our Rugby in Bloom entry relies on the whole community coming together to make the borough a beautiful, biodiverse place to live.

"From residents, volunteers and schools to community organisations, businesses and sponsors, it's a real team effort which I'm delighted the judges recognised and rewarded with gold."

In a further success for the borough, Dunchurch's entry in the large village category, submitted by the Friends of Dunchurch Society, won a gold award and was named overall category winner.

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