Dedicated Bertie wins award

Bertie Wilmshurst with celebrity gardener Chris Collins
Bertie Wilmshurst with celebrity gardener Chris Collins

PEOPLE dedicated to making their part of the region a more attractive place to live were rewarded for their hard work in the annual South and South East in Bloom awards.

Bertie Wilmshurst from Hampden Park in Bloom received the Commendation Award for dedicating his time and energy to developing and maintaining the Princess Diana Memorial Garden.

The garden itself was awarded silver in the Small Park category, as was Hampden Park in Bloom in the Urban Community category.

More than 400 people attended the Southern Water-sponsored awards ceremony at Fontwell Park Racecourse in West Sussex last week. To mark their success, all entrants received a framed certificate and winners were also presented with an engraved glass trophy by celebrity gardener Chris Collins, who can be seen on Blue Peter and other BBC TV programmes.

When Bertie Wilmshurst collected his Commendation Award he said, “I’m very pleased and surprised to have received this award. I was inspired to create the Memorial Garden 14 years ago as I liked Princess Diana. I visit every day to look after the garden.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Southern Water’s sponsorship of the competition. Entry numbers have increased five fold over the decade and a near-record 253 took part this year.

South & South East in Bloom chairman Peter Holman said, “Southern Water’s backing has enabled the competition to thrive and we are delighted to have held up pretty well in terms of the number of entries this year, even though many areas are being affected by spending cuts.

“We had 51 main category entries, nearly 70 communities taking part in It’s Your Neighbourhood, 49 parks and 85 schools in our Blooming Schools campaign, which is fantastic and shows that there are many people out there working hard to improve their communities.”

Andy Shaddick, public affairs manager at Southern Water, said, “It is great to see how our relationship with South & South East in Bloom has blossomed, with the competition reaching five times as many communities.”