Exeter in Bloom receiving the Silver Gilt Award 

RHS Britain in Bloom Award for the Exeter in Bloom 2018 Campaign

Exeter has been awarded a Britain in Bloom Silver Gilt Award for the beauty of its outdoor spaces.  

The University of Exeter was one of the key partners in a ‘team’ which presented Exeter’s green spaces, parks, cityscape and residential gardens, in a five-hour judging tour by Royal Horticultural Society senior judges, Kim Parish and Ian Murphy.

The strict RHS criteria cover key elements within three core pillars of Horticulture, Environmental Responsibility and Community Engagement and the judges, in their feedback, had praise for the “significance and value” of the University Grounds.

The Exeter in Bloom team competing in the ‘large city’ category, comprising the University, Exeter City Council, InExeter, Devon Wildlife Trust, Princesshay, Stoke Hill Infants & Nursery School and the Imperial, received the Award from Lady Emma Fellowes at the Regional Presentation event in Yeovil – and will be presented in Exeter by The Lord Mayor at The Guildhall with an invited audience of more than 90 Exeter in Bloom volunteers on 24 October. As well as the Silver Gilt Award, Exeter has also received this years ‘South West Tourism Cup’.

Grounds and Sports Operations Manager, David Evans, who represented the University at the award ceremony said: “I was immensely proud to receive the Silver Gilt Award on behalf of the University and the City of Exeter. It is a well-recognised accolade for the quality of work and collaboration of the University and the City's grounds and outdoor spaces teams, along with the excellent local community support. 

“The award ceremony was very enjoyable and showcased some of the brilliant work done by organisations both large and small right across the Greater South West. It gave me a great opportunity to meet people from across the region and discuss similar problems and triumphs.

“Receiving the Silver Gilt was an excellent achievement but it does give us room to strive to achieve the highest standard of gold which we narrowly missed out on.”

The judges appointed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) award accolades in a similar way to the Chelsea Flower Show, with Bronze, Silver, Silver-Gilt and Gold awards. They consider aspects such as litter management, sustainability, quality of planting, site presentation and community engagement as part of a national judging criteria.

Iain Park, Director of Grounds at the University of Exeter, said: “The University are very proud of the quality of the grounds on their campuses and the contribution they make to the city’s open spaces. RHS Britain in Bloom has been an excellent opportunity for us to engage with the wider community in the city, as part of their bid.

“The bid team, led by Christine Fraser and Paul Collier (a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University) were keen to point out the significance and value of the University Grounds to the quality of Green Space and Biodiversity of the City, as well as the University’s contribution to the overall economy of the area.

“The Exeter in Bloom team is proud of their achievement and the pride residents have in the city.”

The judging took place in July and the University provided Reed Hall on Streatham Campus as a venue for the judges to meet for the start of the five-hour judging tour. They were welcomed by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Rob Hannaford and his Consort, Cllr Olwen Foggin, who later showcased the city to the Judging Party. This began with a tour of the campus grounds, followed by a visit to Duryard Valley, Stoke Hill Infants School, Princesshay shopping centre, the High Street, the city’s main parks and ended with lunch at The Imperial. The judges were also driven along Prince Charles Road where they were able to see the Wild Flower planting as part of the ‘Exeter Wild City’ partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust.

South West in Bloom is one of eighteen regional/national competitions that makes up Britain in Bloom, the biggest horticultural campaign in Europe. The year’s theme was ‘How Trees & the Countryside run through the City’. Representative groups from the South West Region will be at the National Awards in Belfast being held on 20 October.

Date: 24 October 2018

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