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Fingers crossed as Boston goes for gold

Fingers are now crossed that Boston will retain its gold in-bloom status... and indications from the judge at the conclusion of his town tour on Friday were encouraging.

Jeff Bates, who judged Boston's efforts last year and gave it its first gold award, said: "It has been nice to see new things. The temptation is to keep things as they are when a high standard has been achieved, but moving on with new projects is a really important part of bloom. The approach is getting a good base and going from there.

"Boston had a good base the year before. It has been a difficult season this year but Boston has embraced the Royal Horticultural Society's Greening the Grey project with its improvements to Doughty Quay and I have seen continued progress at Pilgrims Patch."

He applauded the work of volunteers saying: "It is the only way forwards, local authorities simply don't have the funds."

He said his decision will be announced at Mansfield on September 14.

Boston Mayor, Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, said the design and colour of this year's displays promoted excellence and imagination.

Emphasising several times Boston's bid to retain its gold standard he thanked Alison Fairman, chairman of Boston in Bloom, Cllr Claire Rylott, the council's portfolio holder for parks, grounds and open spaces and vice chairman of the in-bloom committee, Ian Farmer, the council's partnerships and sustainability manager and all the volunteers and sponsors.

He paid homage to two in-bloom stalwarts who had died, Rob Lauberts and Garth Isaac, "whose commitment to Boston lives on through the Boston-In-Bloom project".

He said: "We live in times of austerity with the prospect of more to come, and thus I believe that imaginative and attractive floral displays help raise the spirits of local people, and promotes tourism which has become an important part of the local economy.

"Our displays are better this year and I hope that Jeff agrees with me that Boston deserves gold again."

Judging time is strictly limited and so a presentation at the Butterfly Hospice before the tour enabled Mr Bates to have an idea of some of the other year-round initiatives which had taken place which he would not have the chance to see.

In her introduction, Cllr Rylott told him: We don't speak of 'Boston in Bloom' any more. Or even 'in Bloom'. Nowadays folk know exactly what we're talking about when we use just the single word 'Bloom'.

"Here in Boston, Bloom means the community effort over the past five years which has begun to transform Boston.

"Bloom means a partnership with willing volunteers who can see the beneficial results of their labours.

"Bloom means the businesses taking notice of the attractive improvements and getting on board with support and sponsorship.

"And it is bloomin' amazing that in five short years we have gone from that first silver to our current gold status.

"Whatever the outcome 'Bloom' has been good for Boston."