Battle gardens strike gold

BATTLE scooped two awards at the annual South and South East in Bloom awards.

The town took home two awards, the first was Gold in the Small Park category for The Almonry Gardens and the second was presented to Battle in Bloom which won Silver Gilt for its Small Town entry.

Meanwhile Saxonwood Court won an Outstanding Achievement Award.

More than 400 people attended the Southern Water-sponsored awards ceremony at Fontwell Park Racecourse in West Sussex.

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.

Battle Mayor Cllr Ron Harris and Simon Alexander, chair of Beautiful Battle, collected the award.

Cllr Harris said: “We are ecstatic! We are so proud of everyone that has taken part to produce this award winning entry.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Southern Water’s sponsorship of the competition.

Entry numbers have increased fivefold over the decade and a near-record 253 took part this year.

South and 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.”