Golden year for Rugby at Heart of England in Bloom

RUGBY took gold for the 15th time in a row at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards.
Judges and gardeners in Caldecott Park
11 October 2023

The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, attended the award ceremony at Sutton Coldfield's Harvest Fields Centre, where Rugby was presented with a gold award in the 'small city' category.

And Brownsover Community School teaching assistant Karen Crane and Rugby Borough Council green spaces officer Colin Horton were both honoured with special awards at the ceremony in recognition of years of service to Heart of England in Bloom.

This year's theme for the borough's entry was the bicentenary of rugby football and during a tour of the town in July, the judges were treated to a tour of Rugby School and the chance to walk on the hallowed turf of The Close.

The tour included visits to Caldecott Park and Whitehall Recreation Ground, together with a trip to the Five Arches stretch of the Great Central Way, which has become a thriving nature reserve thanks to the work of Newton and Biggin Parish Council and volunteers from Rugby Wildlife and Warwickshire Butterfly Conservation.

The judges finished the tour with a visit to Brownsover Community School, where pupils had created garden displays to mark the bicentenary and built a 'bug house' home for insects.

In the judges' report, the council was praised for the range of measures it has introduced to support its response to the climate emergency, including the creation of urban meadows and grasslands, the introduction of 'bat hat' solar lights on the borough's Park Connector Network and the grounds maintenance team's move to peat-free compost.

The judges also highlighted the restoration of the bandstand at Whitehall Rec and the work of town centre business and residents to support the borough's In Bloom entry.

The citation for Karen Crane's Services to Heart of England in Bloom award paid tribute to her "enthusiasm and passion for all things gardening" which has engaged pupils and colleagues at Brownsover Community School.

"Thanks to the seeds sown by Karen, everyone at the school is extremely passionate in ensuring every child is involved in gardening in some form - from sowing seeds, growing flowers and vegetables, right through to eating the produce," the citation added.

Colin Horton was presented with a Services to Heart of England in Bloom award for his work on both Rugby in Bloom and Heart of England in Bloom in his role as the council's green spaces officer.

His citation said: "Colin has continued to work steadfastly with community groups to improve their local areas and ensure the Bloom ethos continues to thrive within Rugby."

Cllr O'Rourke, who accepted the gold award on behalf of the borough at last Thursday's (5 October) ceremony, said: "Rugby's schools, businesses, community organisations and residents all come together every year to support our In Bloom entry, working in partnership with the council to make the borough a brighter place.

"I was delighted to receive the gold award on behalf of the borough and especially pleased for Karen and Colin, who both embody the spirit of In Bloom and richly deserved special recognition in the form of a Services to Heart of England in Bloom award."