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Rugby blooms for the bicentenary of the game

GREEN-fingered gardeners from across the borough gathered at the Benn Hall for the Rugby in Bloom Awards.

Rugby in Bloom
Matt Hughes, owner of The Scrum in Sheep Street, was presented with the best shop prize by the Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, at the Rugby in Bloom Awards at the Benn Hall. Published Monday, 18th September 2023

A host of residents, schools, businesses and community organisations entered this year's contest, which celebrated the bicentenary of rugby football.

Awards were presented in a number of categories, including best allotment, best pub and best small garden.

Rugby Railway Club took the first time entrant trophy, while the Avanti West Coast team took the honours in the industrial category for the floral displays at Rugby Station.

The Scrum, in Sheep Street, took the top prize for best shop and The White Lion in Brinklow toasted success in the best pub category.

Conservation work carried out by volunteers at the Swift Valley Nature Reserve scooped the best environmental prize, while special awards for floral displays inspired by the bicentenary of rugby football were presented to Bilton Junior School and the residents of Brooke Court.

And it was a team effort which took the Jeffrey Bernhard Young Gardener of the Year Award, with Wolston St Margaret's Primary School presented with the prize which honours Rugby's pioneering horticulturalist.

Mr Bernhard, who was awarded an OBE for services to horticulture, passed away in August just weeks after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Wednesday's (13 September) award ceremony concluded with the presentation of special awards to volunteers Ray Hodges, Phil Parr and Mike Slater, long-standing supporters of Rugby in Bloom.

The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, presented prizes at the ceremony and said: "The Rugby in Bloom Awards reward the hard work of so many residents, schools, businesses and community organisations who come together each year to make the borough a brighter, better place.

"It's a real community effort supported by a number of teams at the council, and everyone who takes part supports the borough's entry to the Heart of England in Bloom Awards."

Rugby has won gold at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards 14 years in a row.

This year's award ceremony takes place next month at Sutton Coldfield's Harvest Fields Centre.

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