In bloom group just miss out on top award
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
ORGANISERS of an upper dale village’s entry into an environmental competition have vowed to “up their game” after narrowly missing out on a top position.
Middleton-in-Teesdale won gold in the Northumbria in Bloom competition in 2018 but this year dropped a level to silver gilt.
However, it won a string of other awards with main organiser Pam Phillips being one of only three people to be recognised as a community champion and Dale View earning gold in the best residential community category.
Teesdale Hotel earned a silver award in the pub category and first time entrant Aidan Peoples received silver for best private garden.
While the judges were impressed with the village’s entry, commenting on the colourful floral displays and the huge community involvement, they noted some areas that needed improvement.
Among those were weeds growing in cracks in the pavements and cobbles, tired benches and the need to reclaim stormwater.
The judges said: “There was an issue with weeds in the pavement cracks on the route and some street furniture needs attention. It would also be good if residents who owned cobbles outside the fronts of their properties would keep them clean and tidy.”
However, they also noted: “The village was clean and tidy with very little evidence of litter and no dog fouling or graffiti.”
In recognising Mrs Phillips as a community champion, they said: “Pam has an unshakeable passion for making the village beautiful – her tenacity, friendliness and kindness make her very special indeed.”
On missing out on gold volunteer, Jo Lee said: “It is what we expected really after the judges’ visit. We thought there were a lot fewer gold awards this year.”
Ovington, which won gold in last year's competition, was also lowered to silver gilt status this year. As for plans for next year's entry Mrs Phillips said: “We will do a lot more colour and bedding. We will be nagging Durham County Council to change the rainwater downspout on the toilets so we can plug a water bowser into it.”
Regarding the pavement weeds, Mrs Lee said: “It is a huge problem to us because you can’t keep up and the council won’t spray them.”