There is no doubt at all that without the efforts of locals, and the Spelthorne in Bloom committee our villages would be missing something. The dazzling array of colour in hanging baskets and gardens have been a delight this year.

Whereas last summer was beset with drought, this year the flowers are still blooming late into the autumn. At the Spelthorne in Bloom awards recently the words of the High Sheriff resonated with me. Dr Helen Bowcock spoke of SiB as a true example of community spirit, where the cooperative work of volunteers instils in people a sense of well-being, brightness and positivity. Gardening and nurturing brings out the best in people. As bystanders we can all enjoy the fruits of the labour of others. As partakers, we find the joy in creating something beautiful gives us happiness and self-confidence. This applies to those of all ages. It can bring people together, overcoming social isolation and providing a purpose.

We are lucky indeed that SiB has been so embraced by Spelthorne and the awards evening at the Orangery in Shepperton Studios was evidence of how seriously it has been taken. Best Newcomer was awarded to Bruce and Mavis Duncan of Blacksmiths Lane in Laleham. Leslie Grimes was runner up for the Best Front Garden for his ever stunning display in Manor Lane, Sunbury and Bonnie Smith of Hitchcock Close, Shepperton was runner up in the Best Hanging Basket category.
Best Small pub was the Three Horseshoes in Shepperton and Best Large Pub the Hare and Hounds in Sunbury. The War Memorial in Laleham was awarded a First too and Beryl Shattock collected the award with pride.

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If one thing was outstanding during the evening it was the obvious involvement of children and the inspiration of their teachers. What it is to marvel at seeds growing and becoming something to eat! So there were awards for the Best Grow Your Own and Best in Show both to primary schools, with prizes including lots of seeds from Squire’s presented by Colin Squire himself.

The Best Contribution Made by a School was awarded to Chenneston Primary School in Sunbury. It was an evening of old and young enjoying the colour and joy brought to the borough by plants and flowers. Chairman Nick Wood-Dow thanked the committee of Spelthorne in Bloom who work so tirelessly to keep standards up. So let’s keep our villages looking beautiful.

How about taking part next year?