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THE community pulled together this month to ready the town for a visit from the South West in Bloom competition judges – and now all fingers are crossed that Melksham will win gold again, making it four in a row.
Plants were watered, litter was collected, pavements were weeded, benches painted and the Market Place smartened up, all in time for the judges’ visit on Wednesday 14th July.
And despite some last minute hiccups – including vandals damaging the Olympic-themed floral display on the Market Place roundabout, and a hit and run accident that damaged the main entrance to St Michael’s Church – the team are hopeful that all the hard work paid off.
“The judges thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Melksham yesterday (14th July),” said Linda De Santiz on behalf of Melksham Bloomers. “Highlights included the amazing Olympic-themed display on the roundabout, the dazzling flags in the Market Place, the Conigre Mead nature reserve, the flowers on display down Church Walk, and the incredibly artistic work of Jo Bayliss in the upcycled garden at Waitrose – there’s too much to mention!
“None of this would have been possible without the work of all the Bloomers, Melksham Town Council staff and volunteers, who all put in hours of work to get the town ready – especially at the last minute when vandals damaged our floral athletes on the roundabout. Now we sit and wait for the result in three months – we have everything crossed for the gold!”
The focal point of this year’s display was the Olympic-themed Market Place – which has wowed residents and visitors with its floral display on the roundabout and colourful flags.
The team behind the flags, which depict sports including skateboarding, show jumping, hurdles, and wheelchair basketball, are Liz McGrane, Terri Welch, Lynda Bloomfield, Susan Moffet, Sharon Galloway, and Andy Marshall, with a helping hand from his daughter, Layla, who attends Forest and Sandridge School.
“They took two years to make!” said Terri. “They were planned for last year, but then Covid came along. So we had to adapt – as we would normally meet in the Town Hall to make them.
“Andy, our graphics person, designed the flags on paper, and the rest of us got to work making them. There was a lot of passing back and forwards, but we got there. And we are thrilled that people love them.”
In the days before the judges’ visit, volunteers turned out in force for the Town Tidy, fuelled by bacon sandwiches donated by Adil Gunco, owner of Gonjoo Cafe Bake House, located on the High Street.
And 1st Bowerhill Beavers also lent a helping hand, hosting an additional Town Tidy with deputy mayor, cllr Colin Goodhind.
“A massive thank you to everyone that helped – you’re all bloomin’ marvellous!” said Bloomer Linda.
Melksham Town Council’s clerk, Linda Roberts, added, “I was very proud to see staff and volunteers come together over the past few days to ensure that the South in Bloom judges were able to see our green town at its beautiful best.
“We are so lucky in Melksham to have such a dedicated group of Bloomers and town tidy volunteers who have worked night and day to make this happen. Thank you to everyone who played their part, including our brilliant amenities team.
“Now it’s time to cross our fingers while the judges do their rounds. Medals aside, we should all take a moment to look around at all the work involved in making Melksham full of colour and lush growth and say a quiet thank you to everyone who played their part.”