Uppingham is on a golden high after not only receiving a top award at Britain in Bloom but also winning their small town category.
Chairman of the Uppingham in Bloom committee Pam Dalby travelled to Llandudno in north Wales on Friday night for the awards ceremony with husband Ian, son Alex and Tony and Sue Streeter, also from the committee.
But the long journey proved worthwhile for the group as Uppingham was named joint winner of the Small Town category and received a gold medal, sharing the accolade with Randalstown in Northern Ireland.
Pam said she was “absolutely gobsmacked” when Uppingham won.
She said: “We just couldn’t believe it. To win gold was amazing but then to be named joint category winner was fantastic. It was just the icing on the cake and we are so delighted.”
Judges said that In Bloom was “a way of life” for many living in the town and commended the town for its attractive and innovative floral displays, Uppingham School’s grounds, The Falcon Hotel garden and the strong support from local businesses and other organisations. The town’s community garden at the Leicester Road allotments and the new tree trail also left a good impression.
But Pam had thought that judging day back in the Summer had been a washout with torrential rain beating down on the judges as they toured the town.
And just weeks before, the East Midlands in Bloom judges had paid their visit - meaning a tough time for the small committee tasked with making sure the town looked its blooming best.
“There was an absolute deluge on judging day, it couldn’t have been worse weather,” Pam said. “It really felt like we were in the lap of the Gods.”
Pam paid tribute to the hard work of her committee, saying they had previously worked out that more than 800 hours of work are volunteered every year.
Her son Alex, 15, also helped out this year as part of his bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and attending the ceremony proved to him that hard work does reap its rewards, according to Pam.
Pam also thanked the many businesses in the town, in particular Bob Fisher, the gardener at Uppingham School; Uppingham First and Mark Woran from Rutland County Council.
“It is a lot of hard work every year, not just with the planting and what people see but the administration behind the scenes. There aren’t that many of us so we do appreciate all the help we get,” Pam said.
Uppingham qualified for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom UK Finals after success in East Midlands in Bloom 2016. From the 3,000 communities that take part in the regional campaigns, about 80 are selected to go into the national final.
The town bettered its national result in 2015 when it picked up a silver gilt award.