Lytham's bloom success with RHS award

A Lancashire coast town has beaten England's finest to win a top national award

They’ll be going for gold in 2012 - and not just in the London Olympics. The Royal Horticultural Society judges have presented the premier Britain in Bloom award to Lytham, which beat the likes of St Ives in Cornwall and Hunstanton in Norfolk.

It means the Lancashire town if officially the best small coastal resort in England. But organisers have promised to give it their best shot when they are next allowed to take part in two years.

Jim Leak, who is chairman of the Lytham in Bloom committee, said: ‘We want to make that a really memorable year. We’ll have the Olympics, the Open golf championships are in Lytham St Annes and we’ll be going for gold again in Britain in Bloom.’

Jim paid tribute to the hundreds of townsfolk, scores of businesses and Fylde Borough Council for giving full support to the competition. The town was decked out with more than 100 hanging baskets, floral tubs and the centre-piece was a windmill made of blooms.

‘An award like this raises the profile of the town and, from talking to traders, there has been a noticeable rise in footfall. People in Lytham seem to care more than ever about the appearance of the town. There have been long hours and a lot of hard work, but it has been worth it.

‘We won silver three years ago, silver-gilt last year and now we’ve got the gold. It’s been a story of constant improvement for Lytham and the town should be proud.’ He paid particular tribute to the Lions, the Rotary Club, Kensington Developments, Sita and Staining Road Nurseries.

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The judges were especially impressed with the way the campaign had been used in an educational programme with children from three years to 18.

Judging criteria covered allotments, open spaces, involvement by the community, street cleaning, recycling and general environmental quality.

Sue Fazackerley, Fylde’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, added: ‘We are all thrilled by the award. We were determined to get gold and our hopes were raised when the judges said we had followed their advice from last year.

‘Lytham is a close-knit community and everyone will share in this award. Hundreds of people have been involved. When we conduct market research with visitors it’s always the quality of our parks and gardens that come top of the list of reasons for returning.

‘The town has looked fantastic this summer and everyone has played a role. They should all be proud of their work, much of which has been done in their spare time. They’re be no back-sliding - we aim to keep this standard.

‘I am amazed that I still meet people who have never heard of Lytham St Annes. Winning gold will help to spread the word.’

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