A Shropshire village has adopted Rotary’s ‘Purple4Polio’ theme as they bid to win the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom national competition.
Lying in the north-eastern corner of Shropshire, the picturesque village of Norton in Hales has a tradition of winning awards in the county, regional and national ‘Best Kept Village’ categories over recent years.
Norton in Hales has won the Heart of England in Bloom competition in the village category several times, and gone on to win at the national RHS Britain in Bloom level three times, culminating in being declared the Britain in Bloom ‘Champion of Champions’ in 2015.
This is thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers who have worked hard to produce colourful displays, including planting flower beds and oak barrels around the village.
Last year, Norton in Hales won the Heart of England gold medal and the honour of representing the Midlands in the 2019 national Britain in Bloom event.
And Rotary’s Purple4Polio campaign lies at the heart of the village’s bid to win honours this year.
Rotarian Ron Lucas, a Past District Governor and former chairman of Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland’s Foundation Team, explained that when the Purple4Polio campaign, launched four years ago, Newcastle under Lyme Rotary invited the Norton in Bloom group to plant purple crocus corms in the grounds of St Chad’s Parish Church. They were assisted by children from the Church of England village primary school.
Ron said: “This was readily accepted, permission was given, and, subsequently, each autumn thousands of purple crocus corms have been planted by the village children helped by the Norton in Bloom group.
“In early spring they have bloomed to provide a carpet of purple lifting the spirits of all who pass by.
“The Rotary club provided an eye-catching sign which each year is displayed in the church grounds which says ‘Let’s grow together to End Polio Now. These purple crocuses have been planted by The Children of Norton in Hales Primary School in collaboration with The Rotary Club of Newcastle under Lyme to protect children and rid the world of polio’.
“Centred on the main road through the village, the display not only lifts the spirit but promotes this global programme of Rotary.”
We have lots of pride in keeping the village looking clean and tidy, and the flowers looking beautiful. It comes naturally to us.”
Judging for this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom competition took place in August. Now in its 55th year, 71 cities, towns and villages nationwide will compete across 12 categories as they go for gold.
The RHS judges arrived early morning on Monday, August 5th. The Norton in Hales 2019 Portfolio was presented with the main theme for the year ‘Purple4Polio’ and planting colours of purple, pink and acid green.
The Norton in Bloom group says they are quietly confident when the results will be announced in October.
Nigel Passmore, a spokesman for the Norton in Bloom group of volunteers, said: “Being involved in this competition is part of the culture of the village.
“We have lots of pride in keeping the village looking clean and tidy, and the flowers looking beautiful. It comes naturally to us.
“The village has put on many events through the year to enhance community involvement, including getting the children from the village school to plant purple crocus corms for ‘Purple4Polio’, holding a village duck race, having a plant sale and a village show.”