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GOLD for Melksham!

Lady Emma Fellowes, Terri Welch, Linda De Santiz, Kathy Isles, Lord Julian Fellowes and chairwoman of Torbay Council, cllr Anne Brooks at the awards ceremony in Torquay.

MELKSHAM has returned smelling of roses after being awarded Gold at the South West in Bloom awards ceremony last week in Torquay.

The news has thrilled the team of volunteers who tirelessly worked for months making sure the town looked its best, overcoming obstacles like the Market Place redevelopment and the dramatic felling of  two trees in the town centre on the eve of the visit from the judges.

As news spread of the team’s golden win, congratulations have been pouring in from across the town and from as far as the studios of BBC Radio 2.

Presenter Jeremy Vine, who devoted much of his live broadcast speaking to angry Melksham locals after the trees were felled, said, “So delighted for Melksham. The tree felling was pure Fawlty Towers. The spirit of Melksham is what won the war. Well done from all at Radio 2!”

Chair of the South West in Bloom Melksham team, Kathy Isles said, “Receiving the Gold award on the day was the most fabulous feeling for us. There were many tears of joy shed!”

Melksham finally struck Gold after winning a Silver Gilt award for three years in a row. “This is a fantastic achievement and a great reward to everyone who has put the time in and come together to get Melksham looking its best,” said Kathy. “What a wonderful community spirit Melksham has, I am proud to live here.”

There was also ‘blooming’ good news for the Melksham entrants in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ categories. Addison Road allotments, Shaw Primary School, Conigre Mead Nature Reserve, Waitrose garden and St Michael’s churchyard were all awarded with an ‘Outstanding’. Bruce Petty and his garden was awarded an ‘Advancing’.

Bowerhill Residents Action Group (BRAG) also achieved an ‘Outstanding’ award for their picnic area, making it four years in a row for the team.

A delighted Kathy Isles told Melksham News, “Thank you to everyone who has helped to get us this fabulous award; all the volunteers of Bloom and the town tidy days; town caretakers Mike and Nigel and town hall staff and councillors for their support; Old Milestone Nursery for the wonderful quality of beautiful bedding plants.

“Also, all shopkeepers and publicans in town who have made special efforts with hanging baskets and keeping shop fronts clean and tidy; Lackham College and students for all of their help; and Melksham Community Bus for transporting the judges around the town on judging day.

“Thank you to Sparkle window cleaners for the fabulous free cleaning of bus stops and signs. And finally, all other sponsors and volunteers, there are too many to mention!”

Chair of BRAG Mike Mills said, “Winning four top awards in succession is a tribute to the dedicated work of BRAG volunteers who give up their free time to keep the picnic area in such a great condition and this award is for them.

“The judges described the area as being a haven for peace and tranquillity. They praised the way BRAG has turned vandalism into something positive by converting a vandalised picnic table into one suitable for disabled visitors. They also appreciated the quirky ‘shoe tree’ where single boots and shoes left behind by visitors are tied onto branches of a tree.”

The Melksham ‘Bloom’ committee is now busy preparing for the 2018 entry. Plans and ideas will be discussed at the group’s AGM on Tuesday 7th November at 7pm at the Town Hall. Particularly welcome are any groups or clubs who would like to take on any horticultural projects in the next year, and anyone who would like to help keep Melksham looking wonderful all year round.