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Volunteers celebrate after town scoops top floral prize


The Bury in Bloom team celebrate their success in Abbey Gardens. Left to right: Melanie Lesser and Rebecca Davis.

The driving force behind Bury St Edmunds’ success in the Anglia in Bloom competition says she “still can’t quite believe it” after the town scooped the top prize at the prestigious floral awards.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, says she has been inundated with messages of congratulations following the awards ceremony last week, which saw the town win best overall entry and the Anglia in Bloom trophy.

Bury also received first prize in the large town category – for populations between 12,001 and 35,000 – and picked up an award for environmental quality.

Abbey Gardens – where volunteers gathered for a photograph yesterday to celebrate the success – was also recognised with a gold award in the large parks category.

Nowton Park also picked up a gold award in the same category, which was won by Eaton Park in Norwich.

Melanie said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I still can’t quite believe it. So many people have been in contact since the award and there have been lots of lovely comments on social media from people saying how much they love Bury.

“It really has brought Bury St Edmunds to the fore with all the media attention the town has received since the awards.”

Melanie also paid tribute to the team of around 500 volunteers at Bury in Bloom for their work in securing the town’s floral crown.

She said: “Everyone has worked so hard and I wanted to thank the worker bees behind the award – the gardeners and workers around the town who have put in so much effort.”

The Bury in Bloom team will have to wait until November 9 to find out whether the town will be entered into the national Britain in Bloom awards for 2018.

But the independent charity is keen not to rest on its laurels, and Melanie says the underpass from the multi-storey car park into town is a potential project. She added: “There is more work we want to do.

“The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has ‘grey to green’ projects, which look to transform areas in need of some colour.

“I have been contacted by a group who are looking to do some work at the underpass, which is great.

“More and more people keep coming forward wanting to help and there is a real sense of pride and love for Bury St Edmunds.”

East Anglain Daily Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2017


In Bloom win is ‘great for everyone in town’

Bury St Edmunds takes crown in regional horticultural competition

The “huge effort” by a 500-strong team of volunteers is being recognised today as Bury St Edmunds scooped the overall prize in the prestigious Anglia in Bloom competition.

The hard work of the Bury in Bloom team saw the town collect the top prize for its outstanding floral displays alongside the Anglia in Bloom trophy at the awards held yesterday.

Bury also took home the large town first prize and an award for environmental quality.

There was success too for the town’s Abbey Gardens and Nowton Park which were pipped to first place in the large parks section.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, said: “We are absolutely delighted. The team has worked really hard this year.

“It has been a huge effort from the 500 volunteers at Bury in Bloom and it’s great for everyone."


Bright colours burst from the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds.

East Anglain Daily Times - Friday, September 15, 2017


Bury St Edmunds scoops Anglia in Bloom awards for floral excellence

Horticultural enthusiasts in Bury St Edmunds are celebrating after the town scooped a host of awards at the prestigious Anglia in Bloom contest – including best overall entry.


Stunning contrast at the Angel Hotel.

The west Suffolk town collected the top prize alongside the Anglia in Bloom trophy for its outstanding floral displays at the 21st year of the awards, which were held at Pier Gardens in Gorleston, Norfolk, yesterday.

Bury also took home first prize in the large town category, for populations between 12,001 and 35,000, as well as winning an award for environmental quality.

The town’s parks were also celebrated with Abbey Gardens and Nowton Park achieving a gold award in the large parks (more than 10 acres) section, being narrowly pipped to the top prize by Eaton Park in Norwich.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom coordinator, said: “We are absolutely delighted. The team has worked really hard this year.

“It has been a huge effort from the 500 volunteers at Bury in Bloom and we really are so pleased to take the awards. It’s great for everyone in and around the town.”

Robin Burnett, Bury in Bloom chairman, said: “It really is a feather in the whole town’s cap and has increased pride in the town.”


The Abbey Gardens in bloom.

Bob Ollier, chairman of Anglia in Bloom, said: “This year, standards have continued on from last year with excellent awards achieved, the outstanding community work, many resourceful projects and superb floriferous displays have all added to fantastic community entries with 50 gold, 27 silver gilt, nine silver, and one bronze awarded.

“The continued key to success has been community involvement where everyone gets involved and works together to deliver great community projects.

“Bury St Edmunds have achieved a gold standard, best large town and best overall entry and winner of the Anglia in Bloom trophy. Congratulations to the Bury in Bloom team.” George Dawson, chairman of judges, said: “I would also add my best wishes to and congratulations to not only the award winners but to everyone who took part in this year’s campaign.

“No matter what the British climate throws at us, the entrants in Anglia in Bloom take it all in their stride and make the areas where they live better places.


Some of the many floral displays on Angel Hill, the Bury in Bloom group created.

“Well done to all involved, may it long continue.”

East Anglain Daily Times - Friday, September 15, 2017


Bury in Bloom hopes to be best in region


Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, with Anglia in Bloom’s judges during their tour of the town

With its future secure for another three years, Bury in Bloom hopes to be crowned the best in the region for its floral prowess.

As Greene King extended its sponsorship of the organisation until 2020, co-ordinator Melanie Lesser welcomed Anglia in Bloom’s judges to the town on Tuesday.

The results will be revealed in September and they are aiming to build on last year’s success when Bury scooped gold in the large town and large parks categories.

Melanie said: “We’re hoping for gold and we really would like to win Anglia in Bloom overall. It would be an absolute compliment to everyone’s hardwork.”

The judges’ tour included Guildhall Feoffment Primary School, which has taken part in Bury in Bloom’s ‘Flower Power’ community arts project.

It involves schools, nurseries, care homes and day centres which have been creating textile wall hangings featuring plants and insects.

The community spirit has extended to West Suffolk College, where catering students planted a garden of herbs and edible flowers.

A team from the college’s Prince’s Trust programme also improved the garden at Glastonbury Court Day Care Centre after they planted a vegetable patch, flowerbed and painted fences and a shed.

West Suffolk College students with their garden of herbs andedible flowers. They are pictured with Alison Findlay(crouching on the left), from the Royal Horticultural Society, and Melanie Lesser.

Bury Free Press - Friday, July 14, 2017


Youngsters do their bit for the Bury in Bloom display


Melanie Lesser and Hope Flack get involved in the Bury In Bloom 'Flower Power' project. Right, Jacob Blake.

Children in Bury St Edmunds have been inspired to create artwork featuring flowers, dragonflies, butterflies and bees which will be turned in to banners and displayed in the town as part of the Bury In Bloom challenge.

The textile wall hangings are being made by the children at three local primary schools as well as elderly residents at three local nursing homes and the dementia hub. It is part of the Bury In Bloom 'Flower Power' project.

The backgrounds for the hangings have been tie-dyed and the 'mini-beasts' and flora have been painted and decorated with glitter and shiny thread. Melanie Lesser, Bury In Bloom co-ordinator, said: "The kids have learned about the mini-beasts and plants they have created and the workshops which have been funded by us to encourage them to learn more about the environment."

The finished banners will be on display in a prominent location when the In Bloom judges visit on July 11.

East Anglian Daily Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2017


In Bloom community work is blossoming


Willow artist Elizabeth Cooke, left, South Lee School pupils, residents of Stradbroke Court, artteacher Vic Wright, right, and Melanie Lesser ,Bury in Bloom co-ordinator, centre

The seeds of Bury in Bloom’s community work have blossomed with sculptures, workshops and young gardeners providing the town with a floral-themed boost.

Artist John Williams has carved four sculptures depicting craftsmen who worked at Bury St Edmunds Abbey.

They will have pride of place near the central beds in the Abbey Gardens.

Pupils at South Lee School and Hardwick Primary wove crowns, flowers and even a tail in workshops run by willow artist Elizabeth Cooke.

South Lee invited residents from sheltered housing scheme Stradbroke Court to join the activity.

Ten pre-schools and nurseries have entered In Bloom’s Busy Green Fingers contest and judges inspected the gardening efforts of children at Tollgate Nursery. They were joined by employees from Treatt, which sponsors the Busy,Young and Senior Green Fingers contests.

Melanie Lesser, In Bloom co-ordinator, said: “The gardening is just part of the activities, they also produce diaries, log books and art work inspired by the gardens.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Lesser joined the Abbey Gardens Friends and a gardener from the Abbey Gardens to tidy up the River of Flowers on the Tollgate Triangle ahead of a visit by Anglia in Bloom judges to the town on July 11.

Bury Free Press - Friday, June 30, 2017


Abbey ruins’ monks are celebrated with four new sculptures


Sculptures by John Williams installed in Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Lynda Seldis, Martyn Taylor, John Williams, Melanie Lesser and Graham Maynard.

Monks who would have once called the ruined Bury St Edmunds Abbey their home have been celebrated with four handcarved wooden sculptures.

Bury artist John Williams has carved four monk sculptures from elm grown in Nowton Park.

After weeks carving the statues cooped up in one of the Abbey Gardens’ aviaries, Mr Williams revealed his final work at an unveiling yesterday.

The sculptures depict the craftsmen that have worked on and in the St Edmundsbury Abbey over the centuries, with The Mason, The Physician, The Scribe and The Herbalist.

Bury in Bloom paid for the tools used to create the sculptures, while the Abbey volunteer gardeners have helped to prepare the new bed for the display.

Martyn Taylor, Bury Society chairman, wrote four information panels explaining each artwork and the history of the role they depict.

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, June 23, 2017


New willow sculpture helps celebrate Abbey Gardens’ gardeners

The people who care for and maintain the popular Bury St Edmunds Abbey Gardens are being celebrated – with a willow sculpture of a gardener and his wheelbarrow just unveiled.

Bury in Bloom commissioned the willow gardener after Rebecca Davis, St Edmundsbury’s horticultural officer, came up with the idea.

The sculpture is made by Chevington based artist Elizabeth Cooke, who created a steel frame and then wrapped it with willow grown in the Bury Water Meadows. It will be on display all summer.

Michelle Freeman, from Crafty Foxes, created a hedgehog family from recycled items to join the gardener in the bed, which is full of bee-friendly plants.

Melanie Lesser, Bury in Bloom coordinator, said: “We are delighted with the gardener; he makes a great focal point in the bed which we are using each year for different displays linked to other projects.”

East Anglian Daily Times - Friday, June 16, 2017


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