FAREHAM’S green-fingered gardening wizards have taken top honours for an amazing eighth year running.
At the South and South East In Bloom awards, Fareham took the title of best small city.
The win came as entrants in the area covered by The News scooped 10 top awards.
Other winners included Lee-on-the-Solent’s coast, Gosport’s Crescent gardens and Chichester, which took the prize for large town.
A near-record of more than 250 entries were made in the numerous categories to find the top gardeners from Kent across to Dorset.
And one of Fareham in Bloom’s co-ordinators was singled out for an honour. Pam Chisham received an outstanding achievement award for services to the allotments and In Bloom.
Fareham’s horticultural officer Matt Wakefield nominated Mrs Chisham for the award, describing her as an ‘iconic character’ in the In Bloom community.
He said: ‘From the small beginnings of a local gardening competition she has been instrumental in developing the ever growing campaign, co-ordinating the annual competition and the team of volunteer judges required to judge the 300 entries.
‘With a passion for children’s gardening she teaches vegetable growing within schools and leads the annual allotments competition alongside her role with the Fareham Allotments Association as the trading manager.’
Mrs Chisham said: ‘I can’t believe it. I’m gobsmacked!
‘I’m heavily involved with the campaign and have been helping with it for 15 years.’
Councillor Connie Hockley, in charge of community matters for Fareham said: ‘For the eighth consecutive year Fareham has excelled in showcasing the best of its parks and horticultural provision across the borough.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to recognise the tremendous contribution from our dedicated volunteers, who work in partnership with the council’s officers to maintain an outstanding award winning borough.’
Councillor Mark Hook leader of Gosport Borough Council, added: ‘I’m most pleased for the volunteers who put in a lot of effort, take a great deal of civic pride and are getting recognised for their efforts.’
Small city: Fareham in Bloom, gold and winner
Large town: Chichester in Bloom, gold and winner
Coastal: Lee-on-the-Solent, silver and winner
Conservation winner: Wildgrounds Nature Reserve, Gosport, gold and winner
Small park: Crescent Gardens, Gosport, gold and winner
Commercial garden/landscape: Portchester Memorial Gardens, gold and winner
The biodiversity award: Chichester in Bloom
The outstanding contribution award: Pam Chisham
Chairman’s award: The Friends of St Mark’s Churchyard, Alverstoke
Hampshire Life: Fareham in Bloom