Monday, September 11, 2006
Saltburn and Stockton were both honoured today in a prestigious regional floral competition. In Northumbria in Bloom's 2006 Awards, Stockton has won a silver gilt medal - and the title of best city. Saltburn, which also won a silver gilt medal, was named best coastal resort. A Stockton school and shopping centre were also honoured, along with Saltburn's railway station. The awards were announced today in Alnwick, where the Duchess of Northumberland welcomed more than 200 representatives from communities across the region, from Teesside to the Scottish borders. For the first time, contestants were awarded gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medals in recognition of the horticultural standard they achieved. The best in each class won a trophy. Earsdon village in North Tyneside was named overall competition winner and the only entrant to be awarded gold medal standard. A number of awards were also given to smaller groups and individuals. Among them was Hartburn Primary School in Stockton, which earned the title of best school horticulture project, while Saltburn Railway Station was named best rail bus or metro station. Best shopping precinct or retail park was named as Wellington Square Centre in Stockton. Other major winners were Durham as best small city and Sunderland as best large city. Best small town was won by Prudhoe, best town was Morpeth and best large town was Whickham. For the first time, Northumbria in Bloom also this year awarded Certificates of Improvement, Merit or Achievement to small groups of beginners starting new projects. Nineteen local groups who pioneered schemes received awards. Eileen Burn, Northumbria in Bloom chairman, said: "The rewards for participating in the competition reach far beyond the awards themselves. Out of all that hard work, communities benefit from improving the local environment, strengthening community spirit, developing local pride, encouraging tourism and business and have a lot of fun in the process." Northumbria in Bloom started 40 years ago with the aim of encouraging people to take care of their local environment by brightening it up with trees, shrubs and flowers.