Flower powered - Garstang and Catterall are in Britain In Bloom finals for 2019

Norah Hoyles MBE
Norah Hoyles MBE

They’re back! Garstang’s renowned Bloomers are once again to compete in this year’s finals of RHS Britain in Bloom.

The delighted members of the town’s Garstang In Bloom gardening team have been told they will compete against seven other small towns for the prestigious best small town in the UK award.

Netta Parker, chair of Catterall in Bloom, pictured by a flower bed in Catterall

Netta Parker, chair of Catterall in Bloom, pictured by a flower bed in Catterall

Chairman Alan Pearson said: “We’ve only been back in the competition two years...We’ve spoken to the people at North West In Bloom who will be supporting us. They said that because of our previous high standards we shouldn’t be so frightened!”

Meanwhile green fingered residents of Catterall will also be busy as the village has been named as a finalist in the UK Large Village category.

Netta Parker, Chair of Catterall in Bloom said: "We’re just a village of gardeners ...the community spirit is brilliant. We are going to do our best.”

Details of the 2019 finalists was announced as local plans were revealed for a memorial garden dedicated to the late Norah Hoyles MBE, who led the town to floral success on so many occasions in regional, national and global Bloom contests. Norah died in February 2018.

Alan Pearson, chair of Garstang Bloomers

Alan Pearson, chair of Garstang Bloomers

Local businesses are being asked for their support for the garden, which it is hoped will be located by the right hand side of Garstang's High Street pedestrian entrance to the car park.

Mr Pearson has already sought funding from Garstang Town Council. He wrote to them outlining the Bloomers’ plans.

He said: “We have identified a potential site for a memorial garden ... We are therefore seeking funding from organisations that Norah was involved with and who may wish to contribute to her memory. This will also include the townsfolk and businesses around the town, who knew her.

“It is our hope to clear the existing planting and trim the large tree at the centre. We then wish to create a dry shade garden - a horticultural challenge of which Norah would approve. This will produce a peaceful and harmonious area, using the existing seating, where people can rest awhile and reflect. It is also hoped to provide a lasting tribute in the form of a ‘stone’ or other memorial.”

Norah Hoyles MBE pictured tending a flower bed in Garstang

Norah Hoyles MBE pictured tending a flower bed in Garstang

Netta Parker said Catterall began competing four years ago. Last year the village was delighted to win the RHS regional gold award and award for the best large village in the north west in 2018. She said: "We haven't got a church or school or even a pub and we thought never mind we'll do our best. We're good gardeners here. We'll put on a show."

* Anyone who would like to join Garstang Bloomers should contact Alan Pearson on 07850 699492 or email him at mralanpearson@gmail.com