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Bloomin’ wonderful, Middleton-in-Teesdale achieves its gold ambition

GOLDEN SMILES: Middleton in Bloom treasurer Pam Phillips and chairperson Lynne Selby show the best village trophy while members Sue McBain, Jenny Lee, Joanna Tait and Emma Welsby display the gold awards

IT’S official. Middleton-in-Teesdale is the prettiest village in the North East.
Not only did the upper dale village take gold in the annual Northumbria in Bloom competition, but it also snatched the best village trophy.
The award was made in Gateshead on Wednesday last week. The annual environmental contest looked at 57 towns and villages in the Northumbria region to determine the winner of the community gardening contest.
After receiving a silver gilt award in 2015, the organising committee of Middleton in Bloom made a concerted effort to up their game and called on a Britain in Bloom judge for advice.
Middleton in Bloom chairperson Lynne Selby paid tribute to the many people, businesses and organisations that contributed to the victory.
She said: “We are absolutely thrilled. I think there have been a few significant improvements and lots of people to thank. Durham County Council have done lots of lovely things, in particular the lovely landscaping (on the corner of Bridge Street and Horsemarket) and the wildflower meadow. These were things that previously had been requested by Northumbria in Bloom, so we have actually followed through on recommendations with the help of Durham County Council, and the parish council, and lots of other people that deserve a special mention.
“The county council did lots of things over the summer. They have redone white lines, they have cut back some of the grass edges, replaced litter bins, lots of things we have asked for. They have really given us tremendous support.
Committee treasurer Pam Phillips added that local groups like the Women’s Institute, The Stephen Mitchell Memorial Fund, local knitters and The Cooperative store had also played a big part in the success.
New compost bins in the cemetery and the group’s recycling campaign helped give it the edge in the award.
Many people living in the village have also made their taps available to the group to help fill watering cans and the county council has installed a new tap behind the pub loos on the green.
Andrew Jackson, Durham County Council’s technical and service development manager, said the village was a prime example of what can be achieved by a community workign together.
He added: “We are really pleased that Middleton-in-Teesdale has done so well in the Northumbria in Bloom competition and would like to congratulate all of those involved in making it happen.
“We were very happy to support them with their entry and to have been able to contribute to their success.
Ms Selby added: “Virtually every time we are out, we get compliments. The number of people that stop us. We’ve had one criticism but we have had dozens upon dozens of compliments. At the end of the day it isn’t about getting the gold, it is about making the place nicer for the inhabitants and the visitors. Having the gold is wonderful, but we shouldn’t lose sight of that really important factor.”
Plans are already underway for next year's competition.
Ms Phillips said: “We are going to be a to more organised. We now have a list of all our tubs. We are planning now, the order for plants has got to go in very soon, otherwise we will miss out.”
A coffee morning will be held in the Masonic Hall in the village on Saturday, October 29, between 10am and noon to help raise cash for the committee.


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