Faversham, Sittingbourne and Doddington are all celebrating following the South and South East in Bloom Awards.
David Shaw, from Doddington’s In Bloom group, was thrilled with the results overall but particularly with the Chairman’s recognition for the Churchyard Management Group of St. John the Baptist village church, who maintain the churchyard for the benefit of the wildlife. He told me: “We were gobsmacked, we weren’t expecting it at all – these awards are the Oscars of the gardening world and the Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious of the lot.”
David, who attended the ceremony in Hampshire with his wife, Sallie, continued: “It isn’t just gardening enthusiasts who benefit and take joy from the gardens, there’s a lot of community input to improve the local area, working with housing tenants and others.”
The Chairman, Peter Holman, described the churchyard as “an absolutely outstanding example of wildlife management for the benefit of wildlife and the community.” Entries from across the South and South East in Bloom area from Dorset to Kent are eligible for this award so it’s a wonderful achievement for all concerned. The ‘stunned’ volunteers were presented with award whilst carrying out their autumn tidy and this is now on display in the church.
Doddington also won a Silver Award and was named Best Village, with the judges saying: “The sense of community is very strong here with an evident pride in the village. The activities to date have made a major contribution to the appearance of the village and the various activities and events all make for a high level of social cohesion. It’s good to see how district and parish work together for the benefit of the community. Clean, well-managed and maintained by the community, this village and its residents are proud of their place. There is virtually no evidence of litter, graffiti or dog fouling and the style of the traffic calming measures is testimony to the Traffic Calming Group who has masterminded these will planted schemes.”
Faversham retained its Silver Gilt while Sittingbourne was awarded a Silver.
There will be more cause for celebration in Faversham on October 10th, when the Abbey Physic Community Garden will be proclaimed Community Garden of the Year in the Wildlife Garden Awards. The ceremony will take place in the garden itself, at 11am.
A charity which aims to develop a community based, working environment for the people of Kent to enjoy, the garden is set in the heart of Faversham, offering a unique opportunity to establish a tranquil, health-giving, environment enabling people from all areas of society to come together. It’s situated in a beautiful, walled, wild-life friendly and organically managed space, with the emphasis on the therapeutic benefits of horticultural activities. A wide range of spray-free vegetables, fruit, plants and flowers are for sale to visitors in return for donations. Initially funded, this wonderful garden is now self sufficient.