Through the generosity of Harold Williams, and Rottingdean in Bloom, four seats were booked for the above ceremony today: sadly with Valerie Whittle, Irene Skinner and Rea Wheeler all invited but unable to attend for various reasons it was left to Peter Whitcomb, our plant and butterfly expert from Beacon Hill, and myself to represent all of Rottingdean in three classes: St Aubyns Mead in the Neighborhood Class, Beacon Hill LNR in Conservation Area Class, and Kipling Gardens in the Small Parks Class. Among an audience of approaching 400 I have never seen so many Mayors.
First up was St Aubyns Mead who were awarded a level 4 ‘Thriving’ award in the Community Class which was entered by more than 50 communities with collective gardens, they were beaten by only a handful of other communities who received the top ‘Outstanding’ level 5 award.
Three years ago Beacon Hill Local Nature Reserve last entered this competition and was awarded silver, an award received by the late great Alan Holden. In 2012 we have stepped up two rungs of the ladder to receive one of the few gold awards in the Conservation Area class.
Finally, I thought, it was the turn of Kipling Gardens in the Small Parks Class, entered by about 22 parks across the southern counties. Not only did Kipling Gardens equal the LNR’s Gold award, it exceeded it by also being named Best Small Garden for 2012!
A final award for exceptional achievement within the In Bloom movement was made to a man still helping and achieving from his hospital bed, our own Harold Williams.
I returned home laden in awards, trophies and best wishes, none of which I deserve, and with the pleasant headache of finding and congratulating their true recipients.
I believe September 13th 2012 was quite a day for Rottingdean!
Bob Webzell (Cllr, Rottingdean Parish Council)