Join blooming big push to go for gold

Preparing for Bloom judging, Spalding, 'Christine Lawton and Angela Newton tend planters in town.
Preparing for Bloom judging, Spalding, 'Christine Lawton and Angela Newton tend planters in town.
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We love Spalding – but this week your town needs you to show it still has flower power.

On Friday, judges from East Midlands in Bloom will descend on the town to inspect its floral displays. More than 100 businesses are displaying hanging basketsr – that’s 30 more than last year. There are also barrier baskets and tubs on display.

But in spite of missing out on gold by just one point last year, Spalding In Bloom says there is still a lot to do to ensure one of the UK’s centres of flower production attracts the top award.

Chairman Coun Angela Newton said: “We need an extra push from everyone in the town so it looks clean and tidy. If everyone can look after their own patch, either by sweeping in front of houses or businesses and weeding around shop windows – things that can easily be missed – we will stand a good chance of doing well.

“We get marked down if things like that are not right.”

Already a band of volunteers are at work. On Monday, Tulip Radio’s Jan Whitbourn was joined by young people from the National Citizen Service for a week-long drive to clean up areas along the route which the judges will visit.

The Free Press is supporting her efforts and Spalding In Bloom by putting out its own appeal to readers to join a big community effort around the town centre on Thursday, the day before the judges’ visit.

It is hoped residents and businesses alike will support the final push to prepare Spalding for East Midlands in Bloom judges.

On Thursday, Jan Whitborn will again be out with her volunteers, helping to co-ordinate the clean-up drive.

Spalding Water Taxi staff have agreed to spend Thursday clearing away rubbish thrown into the river and on Friday will moor the narrowboat, also run by Broadgate Homes, in the town centre, hopefully with some floral displays on board.

Sandra and Tony White, who are out every day making the river bank look neat and tidy, have been trying to tempt people to use the bins for rubbish by touching up the gold paint on them.

Jane Avery, joint owner of Flowers ’n’ Things, said: “We understand that Spalding town is urged to ‘love it’s space ‘ this coming Thursday in readiness for East Midlands in Bloom.

“We’ll be popping planters on the doorsteps, shining up our shop fronts and offering a tea and fairy cake rewards to Jan’s lovely volunteer group.”

Adrian Allgood, of Allgood Landscapes, is also offering his ground maintenance and pressure cleaning services to businesses along the route. But as it is his normal working day and there’s a lot to do, any similar services would be welcome to help.

A number of councillors will also be volunteering to help on the day. Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, the council’s portfolio holder for waste management, said: “I’m always pleased to see the community getting involved in taking care of our environment. Not only does it demonstrate the pride they have in our town, it also shows that people are eager to become actively involved.

“Anything that supports the hard work and and dedication of our small street cleansing and grounds maintenance teams, is most welcome.

“I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible on the clean up day.”

Jeremy Ransome, editor of the Free Press and Spalding Guardian, has promised to get his hands dirty by removing the weeds under the flower baskets in front of the office.He said: “We have been delighted to support this year’s East Midlands In Bloom bid by doing our bit and appealing to people to help make the town look as nice as possible.

“The Best Front Garden competition run by Spalding In Bloom in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian, which will also be judged on Friday, has been a huge success and we wish everyone the best of luck.”

Phil Scarlet, president of Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce, has helped get more businesses to display flower baskets. He said: “Back in the 1980s Spalding achieved gold status on a regular annual basis, but as the competition was redefined and public spending was restricted, we dropped to Silver. Last year we were awarded a Silver Gilt, just one point short of Gold. This would not have been possible without the tireless and unrecognised work of a small band of volunteers. Having reflected on the judges comments, we bhave upped our game in a determined bid for gold.

“The Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to make that extra effort. If there are weeds on the curb or around the building please remove them along with any rubbish. Every little helps.”

The route

Are you living along the route the East Midlands In Bloom Judges will take around Spalding on Friday?

The judges will start in Camel Gate, turn right into Holbeach Road, right into West Elloe Avenue, left into Pinchbeck Road, left into Westlode Street, down Albion Street along the river, over the Twin Bridges and right along Commercial Road.

Then they will turn left along Albert Street, right along Halmergate, with a detour down Neville Avenue to Sir John Gleed School, then right into Church Street, left into Church Gate, a detour into Ayscoughfee Hall and Gardens, back along river, crossing High Bridge, down Vine street touching the Market Place and cutting through Hole in the Wall passage to The Crescent, through Sheepmarket, around the Market Place, into Swan Street, into Holland Market, cutting past Sainsbury’s, along Station Street, through to Bourne Road and out of town.

lIf you can help with the clean-up operation, by looking after your patch or offering a cleaning service, call Jon Whitbourn on 07779895388 or email the Free Press on and we will pass the message on to the co-ordinators of the big tidy on Thursday.