Blooming lovely award for Pontefract

Committee members Mike Skidmore and Cathie Hall, Mayoress Janet Ellis, Mayor Harry Ellis and chairman Colin White.
Committee members Mike Skidmore and Cathie Hall, Mayoress Janet Ellis, Mayor Harry Ellis and chairman Colin White.

A school’s fruit and vegetable garden and an impressive display of flowers in town has led to Pontefract picking up a silver gilt award from Britain in Bloom Yorkshire.

The judges praised the impressive garden at Larks Hill School and said that the school’s gardening club was knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

The also mentioned the Rose Garden in the Valley Gardens - maintained by Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens -the garden outside St Giles Church and the hanging basket displays outside the Tap and Barrel and Beastfair Vaults.

The Pontefract in Bloom committee members picked up the accolade at a ceremony at York Racecourse on September 13. The achievement was an improvement on last year, when the town was awarded silver.

Committee member Chris Pennock, from sponsor Pomfret Gallery, said: “The visible presence of more flowers this summer had brightened up the town and must be good for business. I urge town centre businesses to participate in the sponsorship next year as the relatively small cost of a hanging basket or planter makes a big improvement to the appearance of the town and encourages visitors.”

The committee was formed in October last year with the aim of seeking sponsorships from the community to fund the flowers now that they are no longer paid for by Wakefield Council.

This summer, more than twice as many hanging baskets were displayed compared with last year, with more than half sponsored by town centre businesses and 12 provided by First Impressions Nursery Ackworth. The committee received grants from WDH and Wakefield Council’s Neighbourhood Improvement Fund.

Colin White, committee chairman, said: “The committee is now starting to plan for next year and will be again inviting sponsors for hanging baskets and planters. We are also looking for new members. Pontefract in Bloom is going for Gold in 2017.”

Rogerthorpe Manor in Badsworth also picked up a gold award in the big hotel category for the second year.