Cranleigh in Bloom 2016 prize giving tea party

Supporters of Cranleigh in Bloom gathered at Notcutts Garden Centre on Thursday afternoon to recognise the hard work of everyone involved, thank our sponsors for their generosity, and celebrate the most successful year for Cranleigh in Bloom to date.

Cranleigh in Bloom chairman Martin Bamford delivered the following speech at the prize giving tea party:

Cranleigh in Bloom 2016 prize giving tea party

Before we present participants with their certificates of achievement, I would like to take just a few minutes to remind you about the purpose of Cranleigh in Bloom, talk about our entry to the South & South East in Bloom Awards this year, and recognise our sponsors. 

Cranleigh in Bloom is a voluntary community organisation with the goal of promoting civic pride, encouraging people to get involved in their community and bringing together various groups of people.

 I was very pleased to take over as chairman around this time last year, when I set a number of goals for the committee.

Our goals this year were to increase levels of planting in the High Street, encourage greater community involvement in the project, and submit a winning entry to the South & South East in Bloom competition.

We have experienced a significant increase in planting this year. Businesses have really embraced Cranleigh in Bloom, with more than 80 hanging baskets and 20 planted floral displays in troughs. Sure you will all agree that the High Street has looked stunning this year.

We wanted to encourage greater community involvement in Cranleigh in Bloom. I firmly believe that Cranleigh in Bloom needs to be about much more than hanging baskets and floral displays; it needs to act as a focal point bringing together the entire community.

There has been fantastic community involvement this year, something highlighted by the judges from South & South East in Bloom, with participation from the Cranleigh Community Group, Friends of Cranleigh Library, Cranleigh Arts Centre, Sure Start Children’s Centre, Rowleys Day Care Centre, and also the local schools, who will be performing a dramatic reading of poetry about where our food comes from at the Cranleigh Food & Music Festival on Saturday 24th September.

We also wanted to submit a winning entry to the South & South East in Bloom Awards 2016. This is part of the national Britain in Bloom competition, where boroughs, communities, residents and businesses can work together to improve their environment.

Cranleigh in Bloom entered South & South East in Bloom for the first time in 2014, setting the bar incredibly high winning a Silver Gilt award.

On 14th July, we welcomed to Cranleigh judges from South & South East in Bloom to show them the results of our hard work and answer what felt like hundreds of questions about our planting, our plans and our future plans.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended the South & South East in Bloom Awards 2016, in Fareham near Portsmouth, along with hundreds of representatives from other towns, villages and community groups.

I am very pleased to report that Cranleigh in Bloom was awarded the highest standard, Gold, for our entry this year.

Not only that, but the Cranleigh in Bloom entry was the overall category winner, receiving The Town Award 2016 from South & South East in Bloom.

We should all be very proud of this achievement, which really puts Cranleigh on the map and is a fantastic reflection of the hard work put in by everyone involved in Cranleigh in Bloom this year.

I would like to read to you the judge’s summary feedback from the South & South East in Bloom Awards:

“Cranleigh is a very pleasant place to visit with tremendous involvement of the community making it a welcoming centre. The floral displays were appropriate to the environment. The recently formed committee for 2016 is made up of a wide range of people and is working very well and achieving high standards in what they are doing. The tour on the day of the visit was well planned and a good itinerary. There is good support from the business community and will continue to grow with the enthusiasm of the committee.”

Thank you to my fellow committee members and our merry band of volunteers who have been tirelessly watering, weeding and dead-heading through the summer months.

Thank you especially to our sponsors and supporters, who provide the invaluable financial support and manpower we need to make Cranleigh in Bloom possible.

We have had absolutely fantastic support this year from Cranleigh School, Cranleigh & District Lions Club, Atrainability, Informed Choice, Cranleigh Golf & Country Club, Notcutts Garden Centre, Manns Café, TWM Solicitors, Roger Coupe Estate Agents, The Rotary Club of Cranleigh, Waverley Borough Council, Glendale Services, U3A Gardening Club, Cranleigh Garden Services, and Paul Stevens Garden Maintenance.

Our main sponsor for Cranleigh in Bloom, once again this year, is Cllr Alan Young, County Councillor for Cranleigh and Ewhurst. Alan, your generous support this year, both financially and your personal support of the various projects and on the South & South East in Bloom judging day itself, has made such a big contribution to Cranleigh in Bloom this year and has dramatically improved our village for everyone who lives and works here, and our visitors.

Before I hand over to Alan, who would like to say a few words before we present the certificates of achievement, I want to finish by looking to the future.

Over the coming weeks we will be arranging the autumn/winter planting displays in the High Street, encouraging local retailers to replant their troughs for the new season.

On Saturday 12th November, we will be working with The Rotary Club of Cranleigh to plant 5,000 purple crocus bulbs on Cranleigh Common, as part of the national Puple4Polio campaign, which is designed to unite communities to engage in activities as part of the final push to eradicate polio for good. As you can imagine, we will need lots of volunteers for that project, so please do speak to me if you are able to help out, even for only a few hours.

And then our attention will turn to Cranleigh in Bloom in 2017.

We’ve set the bar even higher now, with a Gold certificate and a category winning entry to South & South East in Bloom. To make sure we achieve an even higher standard next year, we need to recruit a few more committee members – and also plenty of volunteers to help with the planting, watering, weeding and maintenance of displays, as well as other projects throughout the year.

With the enthusiasm and passion for Cranleigh which I know exists in the local community, I am confident we can repeat our winning ways in 2017, make the village look even better next year, and maybe even have a run at Britain Bloom for the first time.