The awards were presented on 17th September by popular writer and broadcaster John Grundy at the prestigious Northumbria in Bloom ceremony, held in the Sunderland Stadium of Light.
The historic small market town of Sedgefield won the Percy Boydell Trophy for Overall Best Entry for 2013. Along with the trophy for Best Small Town and their Gold medal certificate, Sedgefield is one of Northumbria in Bloom's outstanding entries in the national Britain in Bloom 2013 competition.
73 places were visited by Northumbria in Bloom judges in the spring and summer, and the overall results reflected steady improvement in the north east. 26 villages, towns and cities achieved Gold certificates, and over 100 special awards were awarded the Gold standard.
Chairman of Northumbria in Bloom, Mrs Eileen Burn, commented: “Despite the seemingly never-ending winter and spring, this has been a summer of triumph – not only the triumph of sunshine and warm temperatures, but the triumph of hardworking volunteers in communities in co-operation with their local councils. That well over half of our villages, towns and cities have achieved higher marks or stayed at the same level this year says it all. When economic gloom hangs over our heads we just get those heads down and produce fantastic results. Our judges this year have discovered countless examples of enterprise and initiative.”
Mrs Burn reminded the volunteers and guests at the Stadium of Light that the Northumbria in Bloom campaign isn't just about winning accolades. She continued, "Remember that above all you are doing this for yourselves. What you are doing in the way of gardening, reclaiming poor areas, conservation, keeping your community up to the mark is all about caring for where you live, being proud of where you are, and working together to achieve results not just for you today but for the next generation."
Saltburn Town won a Gold Award and was overall trophy winner for the best coastal town (pop. 35,000 or less).
Saltburn Library Garden won a Gold Award and was overall trophy winner for the best voluntary project category.
Laurieston Care home won a Gold Award in the Grounds for Care Homes, Residential and Convalescent Homes category.
Saltburn Railway Station won a Gold medal award and was overall trophy winner in the best Railway, Bus or Metro station category.
The Valley Gardens were awarded a Gold Medal Award in the Parks category.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Northumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom.
The Awards ceremony for RHS Britain in Bloom will be held in Cleethorpes on October 11. Northumbria in Bloom has six entries, Stanghow (Champion of Champions), Eston, Moorsholm*, Morpeth, Sedgefield, and Stockton on Tees. (*This is a first time national entry for Moorsholm, which comes in the Village category).