Huntingdon goes green for Britain in Bloom

GREEN fingered folk across Huntingdon have been recognised for helping to turn the town into a floral delight ahead of next month’s visit by Britain in Bloom judges.

Hardworking residents, businesses and schools have been honoured in the Huntingdon in Bloom awards. The winners of the local competition were announced last week, before judges from Britain in Bloom visit the town on August 2.

Scooping the schools cup was Hartford Junior Community School. Over the past three years, pupils have worked hard to improve the environment and encourage biodiversity.

Insect houses have been put around the school, as well as bird boxes. Recently a webcam provided by the British Trust for ornithology has enabled pupils to follow the progress of nesting birds.

Pupils have created and designed several gardens around the school, including a gated garden for reception pupils, a terraced garden at the entrance of the infant and junior school, and a square garden to grow vegetables.

The children are also working on a memorial garden, and this summer the pupils completed a sensory garden.

Hartford eco co-ordinator and class teacher Leigh Gray-Thomas said: “By improving the school environment, we have made it more attractive and welcoming to the outside community.

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“Instead of rushing off, parents will sit in the school grounds on benches, among the flowers and enjoy watching the birds feeding and flying in and out of nest boxes.”

Picking up a special award in the school category was Cromwell Park Primary School. The school has a wildlife haven, which attracts a variety of birds, squirrels and Muntjac deer.

An on-site wind turbine, automatic light sensors and rainwater source helps to keep utility bills down, and teaches pupils about conserving energy.

On winning the award, headteacher Stephanie Barnard said: “For our children, it shows they care and understand about their roles and responsibilities in the environment. We encourage them to know they do now can make a different to how long this planet survives.”

Winner of the best front garden competition is newly-elected Huntingdon town councillor Andrew Bish. He has transformed his garden at Walden House in Market Hill into a wildlife haven in just two years.

The Grade 2 listed house was the former social services office, and when Mr Bish moved in the garden was a neglected and over-grown.

He has built a pond, put in shrubs and bird boxes and is trying to encourage wildlife to make the garden their home.

He said: “I tried to create a haven that compliments the church and town hall. It is a work in progress and it isn’t finished by any means.

“It is about finding a right balance between wildlife and attractiveness. It is a tough space to garden in, but I have got it looking reasonably mature in a short space of time.”

Winner of the neighbourhood display was Dartmoor Drive and Exmoor Close. Residents in both streets teamed up this year to ensure a good show for Britain in Bloom.

Kin Khan has co-ordinated the street’s display for more than ten years and was keen to make this year one to remember. She, along with neighbour Solvige Touhy, managed to get more than 50 houses involved in the project.

Other winners were The Marriott Hotel for best pub or hotel, The Toy Library at Huntingdon Nursery who were given a special award in the school category, and optometrists Gathercole and Ward were named winner of the commercial shield.