Villagers vie to be the blooming best

Volunteers plant saplings in Elswick as part of the Britain in Bloom bid.
Volunteers plant saplings in Elswick as part of the Britain in Bloom bid.
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A RURAL village has been declared blooming marvellous after its fantastic floral displays gave them a shot at a prestigious national prize.

Residents in Elswick are celebrating after the village made it to the national finals of Britain in Bloom for the first time.

The village is one of just 77 villages, towns and cities that have won a place in the UK-wide finals

John Rowe, vice-chair of Elswick Parish Council, said: “We’ve established a Britain in Bloom steering group and it really is pulling the community together.

“Reaching the national finals is a great achievement for Elswick. It acknowledges all the hard work put in to making Elswick so beautiful each year and gives residents cause to be extremely proud of their village.”

And work has already begun to spruce up the village ready to welcome the Royal Horticulture Society’s (RHS) judges over the summer.

Dozens of volunteers young and old grabbed their spades at the weekend to help plant 420 trees donated to the village by the Woodland Trust, as part of a campaign to increase the number of trees in Britain.

Villagers are hoping to use the trees to create a woodland orchard and wildflower meadow, which will form part of the Britain in Bloom entry.

Mr Rowe, whose six-year-old son Max helped with the planting, added: “It’s an ongoing project to create a wildflower meadow and community orchard.

“Local schoolchildren are involved in the project and village organisations like the gardening club and WI are all involved in the competition.”

The village won its place in the RHS Britain in Bloom after scooping a gold medal in last year’s North West event, where it also picked up the “cleansweep award” for being the cleanest place in the North West,

Stephanie Enyon, RHS Community Horticulture Manager, said: “We are delighted that Elswick has been chosen as one of the 77 finalists.

“All the selected communities have put a lot of hard work into their entry and to get this far means they are already something special.”

Judging is expected to take place later in the summer.