Rugby and Dunchurch celebrate bloom award wins

The stunning community efforts by Friends of Dunchurch Society to bring colour throughout their village meant it was a double triumph for the borough.

Having recently and respectfully worn a black armband for the Queen, Dunchurch's famous statue of Lord John Douglas Montagu Douglas Scott is now proclaiming the success of the village's Friends society in this year's Bloom awards.
Having recently and respectfully worn a black armband for the Queen, Dunchurch's famous statue of Lord John Douglas Montagu Douglas Scott is now proclaiming the success of the village's Friends society in this year's Bloom awards.

Rugby set the gold standard for a 14th time in a row at last month’s Heart of England in Bloom Awards as it was named winner of the small city category.

And Dunchurch's entry in the large village category, submitted by the FODS, won a gold award and was named overall category winner.Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Carolyn Watson-Merret, was on hand to pick up the town’s award.The theme for this year's Rugby in Bloom was Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.Judges were taken on a tour of the town in July, visiting Brownsover Community School, Caldecott Park, Rugby School and the Great Central Way reserve.

In addition to floral displays described as a ‘horticultural delight’, the tour included visits to examples of the council's work to boost biodiversity and enhance the borough's environment.Judges praised its RugBEE project, which has created pollinator-friendly environments to support the needs of bees and other pollinating insects, and the work to expand the Rugby Park Connector Network, which has so far delivered around 5,000 metres of new or improved pathways - illuminated by solar-powered lights - to create a network of 'green' travel corridors in the borough.They also highlighted the benefits of the council's partnership with the Rotary Club of Rugby, Rugby Wildlife Group and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, which has resulted in a thriving wildlife habitat and a place for education and recreation on the Great Central Way.The judges said: "This was a tour which demonstrated the core values and aspirations of In Bloom continue to go from strength-to-strength despite the disruption and impact of recent times."The continued level of engagement across Rugby's diverse community, both young and old, is outstanding."The council's parks and grounds team's efforts to keep the borough's parks and green spaces in peak condition during the pandemic was also recognised at the ceremony on Thursday, September 22, with Rugby receiving a special grounds maintenance award.

Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Carolyn Watson-Merret, Colin Horton, Rugby Borough Council's green spaces officer - and Fiona James, the council's parks and grounds officer, at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards.

The exceptional effort of FODS has been a feature of Dunchurch this year, with volunteers regularly out and about and winning great support for their planting schemes, notably on the green but also all around the village.