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Ahoy, Boston's looking shipshape

Boston in Bloom judges may have been and gone, but the work to improve the town goes on. The latest addition is this grand sailing ship's mast - another nod along Custom House Quay to the town's historic maritime links.

The results of this year's in-bloom bid by Boston will be announced later this month after judges toured the town in July. Two years ago, the first time the town had entered, a silver award was achieved followed by silver again last year, but just one point short of a silver gilt.

One of the areas to impress the judges was Custom House Quay where they saw a dramatic improvement. Council staff and volunteers, including members of Boston Greenscapers, had cleaned the area and added a brightly-painted former Wash navigation buoy, a planter in the shape of a renovated dinghy and an illustrated information board detailing the historic significance of the area and the vista from it.

The ship's mast is the crowning glory. The estimated cost of £5,000 for construction and installation of the mast has been covered by local individuals who wish to remain anonymous but who are supportive of the Boston in Bloom campaign.

Ian Farmer, Boston Borough Council's partnerships and sustainability manager said: "Since the Custom House Quay refurbishment has been undertaken we have received favourable comments from both residents and visitors. It is great to see more people making use of the site. We are indebted to the public-spirited individuals who have agreed to fund this new maritime feature."

Alison Fairman, chairman of the Boston in Bloom steering group, said: "It's wonderful to know that there are people who love the town, care for it and demonstrate that, without expecting anything in return. These benefactors want to remain anonymous. Their reward will be the pleasure they receive from seeing something they have done make a difference.

"This also goes to prove that the work goes on throughout the year - it's not just a special effort turned on for in-bloom judges. It will be great to do well after all the effort put in by so many, most of them unpaid volunteers - and the judges indicated that we would not be disappointed. But that's not what it's all about. It's about making Boston a nicer place for all who live, work and visit here."

Mast arrives Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
The mast and buoy pay homage to Boston's maritime past.

Mast man at work (2) Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
A brick surround is built around the base.

Mast and buoy Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Gently does it - the mast is craned off the lorry. Picture RACHEL LAUBERTS

Mast Stump left Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
The ship's mast with the buoy in the background.