Caistor in Bloom bids for British crown
Report and Photographs by Stewart Wall.
Caistor pulled all the stops out yesterday (Monday, August 3, 2015) in its quest for glory in the Britain in Bloom competition.
It was a rare opportunity for the town, as only a handful of communities from 18 regions across the country are invited to compete.
The day saw Roger Burnett, chairman of Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom Judging Panel, and his colleague Kate Dagnall being given VIP treatment as they were escorted around the town.
A horse-drawn carriage was supplied for some of the judges’ tour by Stone Farm Carriages, and a limousine was provided by Swish Cars of Caistor.
About 70 communities from small villages to large cities across the UK compete in the In Bloom competitions, and the judges who visited Caistor yesterday were looking to see how the community works together. The town turned out in force to greet them.
Local photographer Stewart Wall joined those who turned out to record the day. “I was intrigued to see what goes on during the judging sessions,” he said. “The RHS “In Bloom” organisation interests me. Formed over 50 years ago, its purpose is to promote residents’ awareness of our surroundings. I was joined by another local photographer, Linda Oxley, and we popped along in my van trailing the judges around Caistor.”
Caistor In Bloom member Mike Galligan, was out doing a last-minute check of the town, but the day was “the culmination of months of hard work getting it all ready,” he said.
It was an early start for the judges, collected by Richard Wish from their hotel in his limousine. After a video presentation at the town’s Multi Use Centre, Deborah Barker talked the judges through a few of the newspaper articles that have featured them.
Caistor’s stonemason Colin Wood met the judges at The War Memorial, telling them how his grandfather’s team made it. Later in the day Mr Galligan presented the judges with a copy of Stewart Wall’s book, The Stonemason, about Mr Wood.
After a short tour of the Market Square, it was into the horse-drawn carriage from Stone Farm Carriages.
PCSO Robert Childs came out to greet the judges.
Garage owner Vaughan Shacklock and resident Phyl Balmforth showed the judges the wildflower meadow by the doctor’s surgery.
The judges appeared to appreciate the wildflower meadow.
On they went, now back in the limo to meet the Davey family, who have been involved with the team who planted the sunflowers at the Nettleton Road bus stop.
Cliff and Jill Rust won The Open Gardens Award for 2015 with their amazing garden, and the judges were given a guided tour.
The judges paused to look at the figure of the horse’s head near Boys Hill and then walked past The Spar and into Westbrooke Grove to meet Peter Sanderson from Sustainable Caistor
The judges also met Veronica and David Smith, who have done amazing things with their garden.
The Church of St Peter and Paul was next, where the judges met Don Morgan, of Caistor Civic Society, and the Rev Canon Ian Robinson and Pat Harris of the church.
Bob Oxley showed a memorial bench at the Congregational Church Yard. The bench was donated by Caistor Lions in memory of Doug MacDonald.
It was then back into the horse and carriage for the judges and a stop to chat with Caistor In Bloom champion Neil Birks.
The judges visited Crocosmia Gardens off North Street and were given a guided tour by Mark and Lauri Fox. On the way, they stopped to talk to the oldest In Bloom volunteer in the country, Marry Minns, 92, and Rosie and Ian King. Judge Roger took Harry’s photograph.
West Lindsey District Council representatives greeted the judges outside the Town Hall. They included district councillor Owen Bierley and Simon Smoothy and Jim Lendry of Streetforce.
Cllr Martin Sizer, put on his Postmaster’s hat to meet the judges at our Post Office.
Then it was off to The White Hart for a luncheon expertly prepared by Rick Sandham and colleague Andy with fish provided by Sea Lord and duck supplied by Cherry Valley.
Mayor Carol Mackenzie read out her own composition, a poem entitled Blooming Caistor.
Judge Roger Burnett gave a short speech, praising Caistor’s community spirit.
Mike Galligan presented the judges with a copy of the book, The Stonemason.
Caistor In Bloom president Ernie Brown closed the day before enjoying a pint on his favourite seat.
For all of these images, and more, see the slideshow below: