Volunteers had West looking its best for visit of judges
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
DAYS of hard work by volunteers had West Auckland looking immaculate ahead of judging for the Northumbria-in-Bloom competition.
It is the first time West has entered the main village category, after featuring well in the It’s Your Neighbourhood category in previous years.
Organisers admitted being nervous ahead of the judges’ arrival last week.
Jean Pattison, of West Auckland-in-Bloom, said: “We have had a hectic morning – I’ve been up since 6am.
“The past three weeks has been the hardest – we’ve washed the planters, the bins, the bush shelters and we’ve swept the paths.”
She added that Monday had been “panic stations” when it emerged that the contractor responsible for cutting the greens wasn’t due for another week. However, a hasty phone call remedied the situation.
Parish councillor Neil Simpson paid credit to Durham County Council, and, in particular, its Find It And Fix It team which spent three weeks in the village last month.
He said: “They painted the street furniture and varnished all the picnic tables. They have done a really good job.”
The team also installed shrubs and a herb garden which people are encouraged to harvest for home use.
More recently, county officers have helped by sweeping the streets.
Upon the judges’ arrival, Mrs Pattison explained that the village’s in-bloom group was set up three years ago and in its first year was able to raise some £7,000 to begin beautifying the village.
She added: “The support we have had from the village and the comments on Facebook has been absolutely brilliant.”
Copeland Road Primary School helped the effort by creating a scarecrow to go alongside the village’s coal mining planter, while in-bloom volunteers created a footballer scarecrow which was featured next to the World Cup monument.
The results of the judging are expected in September.