TOWNS and projects from across the region had a blooming marvellous time at the finals of the prestigious Anglia in Bloom contest. Special awards went to first-time entrants St Neots with Sudbury Meadow named the top site in Anglia for biodiversity. The t

TOP FOR BIODIVERSITY: Sudbury Meadow in St Neots

TOWNS and projects from across the region had a blooming marvellous time at the finals of the prestigious Anglia in Bloom contest.

Special awards went to first-time entrants St Neots with Sudbury Meadow named the top site in Anglia for biodiversity. The two-acre meadow, owned by Huntingdonshire District Council and run by volunteers, was set up in 2001 and has hedgerows and an orchard.

Alison Pearson, from the project said: "We are delighted. We have all manner of different types of birds nesting in our hedgerows, including the rare song thrush, as well as butterflies in the meadow."

St Neots won silver award with the vegetable garden at the threatened Bargrove Centre winning best garden at a special needs project. A spokesman at the day centre said: "We are all really thrilled. People have worked hard to grow vegetables including onions, beans, and courgettes to sell at the centre."

Pam Franklin with the Cancer Research basket in Wistow that impressed Anglia in Bloom judges

Of the towns, Huntingdon won a silver gilt commendation, and a certificate. The town's efforts are said to reflect the work of the committee and local authority parks teams. Young people were involved, including scouts picking litter in Riverside Park, school pupils taking part in healthy eating poster competitions and residents entered the Best Front Garden competition.

The judges said of Huntingdon: "Hinchingbrooke Country Park is possibly one of the jewels in the crown of Huntingdon, with almost everything anyone would want to do catered for there. The innovative way Cromwell Park School has designed in renewable sources of energy should be copied throughout the country. The river and associate areas are also an asset and well used. The many and varied floral display are of excellent quality," the report said.

The Hartford Road flower displays were nominated for the best local authority floral display but were pipped at the post by the Memorial Gardens in Clacton.

The Moor in Bloom project picked up a silver award in the urban regeneration category as well as picking up certificates for best community project, best public open space for Coneygear Park and in the young people's category for the Youth Club/Luminus Project.

The Hartford Road Flower Displays in Huntingdon

Chairman of Huntingdon in Bloom, Peter Jackson, received the Roy Lacey Award for outstanding service to Anglia in Bloom over the past 11 years.

Having served two years on the Anglia in Bloom Executive, Mr Jackson has helped Huntingdon in Bloom achieve numerous awards. He said: "I believe that all villages, towns and cities benefit not only from the floral displays but also cleanliness in the community and environmental and recycling issues which Britain in Bloom promotes.

"I am really delighted to receive the award, but I could not have achieved this without the support of a loyal committee and the efforts of the Huntingdon Town and Huntingdonshire District Councils. We still need more community support to get gold next time."

Wistow improved on last year's success, achieving silver, and won most improved entry. Pam Franklin, chairman of Wistow in Bloom, said: "Last year, we didn't have a committee, so we just entered as a village without doing anything. But this year we set up a committee and asked volunteers to help plant bulbs round trees and put up hanging baskets sponsored by local organisations. The Cancer Research UK basket really impressed the judges as it included healthy items, as well as produce used in the treatment of cancer."

St Ives improved on last year's bronze to pick up a silver award and a certificate for the commercial sector for Compass Point. For this year's entry, the town council worked with the district council and the High Rise Allotment Association to improve the allotments and worked with Thorndown Junior School on a project to create wigwam classrooms made of willow.

Sawtry won a silver gilt. The judges were impressed by the effort and hard work by staff and children at Sawtry Day Nursery to create a wildlife garden. They also looked at Sawtry Infant School, which is setting up a conservation area.

INFORMATION: See www.angliainbloom.co.uk