On Friday 8th September 2023, Cllr Tony Konieczny and Town Clerk Sandra Rosser travelled to Denbigh in North Wales to the Wales in Bloom Awards. A warm welcome awaited them with refreshments provided by the Denbigh in Bloom Volunteers, and there were displays from the local archives, the knitting group, a local photographer, and Amberol. They participated in a town walk which included walking along part of the town walls, overlooking the entire town and surrounding countryside and mountain range.
The Awards Ceremony was held back in the Town Hall. An enjoyable two-course lunch was dished out by the volunteers, with over 170 people to serve in very warm conditions!
The ceremony itself was conducted by Wales in Bloom Vice Chair John Woods, who visited Abergavenny in Bloom in early July. Abergavenny in Bloom encouraged groups to enter the It’s Your Neighbourhood competition, and were delighted to receive:
Level 3 – Advancing – 7Corners
Level 4 – Thriving – Victoria Street Raised Beds
Level 5 – Outstanding – Friends of Bailey Park
The judges can take recommendations for community champion award nominations, and three are then selected to be given recognition for their dedication and commitment to improving the environment through Wales in Bloom. Cllr Tony Konieczny was shortlisted as one of three recipients this year and received his award from the President of Wales in Bloom, Peter Barton-Price.
The Wales in Bloom team now has two discretionary awards which can receive nominations for individuals for consideration. The first is the Jim Goodwin Award to be awarded annually to a young person (under 26 years of age) for their outstanding commitment and support in `helping their community grow’. The second is the John Woods Award, to be awarded annually to anyone of any age for their positive contribution to protecting, conserving and enhancing the natural environment, not only for their community now but for future generations. Rachel Dixon from the Abergavenny Community Orchards and Gardens was nominated in this category and was shortlisted in the top three for consideration by the judging panel.
Next were the school awards, and this year, 6 schools across Wales entered. Prizes are awarded to the top three, and Our Lady and St Michael’s RC Primary School retained their second place for the second year, winning £100 in gardening vouchers for their Garden and Eco-Schools. The award was picked up on their behalf by their school governor, Cllr Tony Konieczny, and presented to them formally at a school assembly on Monday 11th September to Headteacher Mr Viv Evans and their Eco and Garden Schools by Mayor Cllr Anne Wilde.
Finally, the bit everyone holds their breath for. As one of two entries in the Town Category at Wales in Bloom this year, Denbigh in Bloom has won the category overall for the last few years. Abergavenny in Bloom continues to improve, and we are thrilled to retain the Gold Award for the third year running. The judge explained that between both entries, there was a hair’s breadth, and it took lengthy deliberations to find the one point to declare an overall winner. This year, the hosts, Denbigh, won that honour.
Abergavenny in Bloom will have a stand at the Greener Abergavenny Fair on 1st October, and they will be showing off their award haul, as well as offering walks to each of the areas which make our town so beautiful. Abergavenny Orchard, Castle Meadows, Linda Vista Gardens, and Bailey Park, will all have walking tours on offer, so do come along and join one of these fascinating tours on Sunday 1st October 2023 starting at the Market Hall and running at various times throughout the day.
Onwards now to the RHS Britain in Bloom Awards being held in London on 23rd October. Representatives from the groups which make Abergavenny in Bloom what it is will travel up to the awards and report back on how we have fared!
As for next year, the Wales in Bloom Awards will be hosted right here in Abergavenny. It will be an opportunity to showcase the incredible green spaces we are so lucky to have across the whole town, and maybe, just maybe, with help and support from across the whole town, we can reach the dizzying heights of becoming overall winners of the Town Category.