Rugby's green spaces achieve gold standard for 15th year - The Rugby Observer

Rugby's green spaces achieve gold standard for 15th year

RUGBY’S green spaces have achieved the gold standard for the 15th year in a row at the Heart of England in Bloom Awards.

Mayor Maggie O’Rourke accepted Rugby’s gold award in the ‘small city’ category at the award ceremony at Sutton Coldfield’s Harvest Fields Centre.

And Brownsover Community School teaching assistant Karen Crane and Rugby Borough Council (RBC) green spaces officer Colin Horton were both honoured with special awards at the ceremony in recognition of years of service to Heart of England in Bloom.

This year’s theme for the borough’s entry was the bicentenary of rugby football – and during a tour of the town in July, the judges were treated to a tour of Rugby School and a walk on the hallowed turf of The Close.




The tour included visits to Caldecott Park, Whitehall Recreation Ground, and the Five Arches stretch of the Great Central Way – which has become a thriving nature reserve thanks to the work of Newton and Biggin Parish Council and volunteers from Rugby Wildlife and Warwickshire Butterfly Conservation.

The judges finished the tour with a visit to Brownsover Community School, where pupils had created garden displays to mark the bicentenary and built a ‘bug house’ home for insects.


In the judges’ report, RBC was praised for introducing measures to fight the climate emergency, including urban meadows and grasslands, ‘bat hat’ solar lights on the borough’s Park Connector Network, and the grounds maintenance team’s move to peat-free compost.

The judges also highlighted the restoration of the bandstand at Whitehall Rec and the work of town centre business and residents to support the borough’s In Bloom entry.

The citation for Karen Crane’s Services to Heart of England in Bloom award paid tribute to her ‘enthusiasm and passion for all things gardening’ which has engaged pupils and colleagues at Brownsover Community School.

The citation added: “Thanks to the seeds sown by Karen, everyone at the school is extremely passionate in ensuring every child is involved in gardening in some form – from sowing seeds, growing flowers and vegetables, right through to eating the produce.”

Colin Horton was presented with a Services to Heart of England in Bloom award for his work on both Rugby in Bloom and Heart of England in Bloom in his role as the council’s green spaces officer.

His citation said: “Colin has continued to work steadfastly with community groups to improve their local areas and ensure the Bloom ethos continues to thrive within Rugby.”

Coun O’Rourke said: “Rugby’s schools, businesses, community organisations and residents all come together every year to support our In Bloom entry, working in partnership with the council to make the borough a brighter place.

“I was delighted to receive the gold award on behalf of the borough and especially pleased for Karen and Colin, who both embody the spirit of In Bloom and richly deserved special recognition in the form of a Services to Heart of England in Bloom award.”

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