Barnstaple In Bloom rides again after a decade in the wilderness

Gazette editor Andy Keeble captured a colourful spring scene on the Strand in Barnstaple. Picture: A

It is hoped Barnstaple will have town centre floral displays to add to its natural ones this summer, with the return of Barnstaple In Bloom after a 10 year break - Credit: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple in Bloom is returning to help spruce up the town after a break of almost 10 years. 

A new committee intends to bring back the annual floral displays and smarten up areas of the town with the support of local people and businesses. 

A chance Facebook conversation brought founding committee members Cathy Edwards and Frances Bell together, when both had been commenting on the expected £6.5million Government High Street Fund grant for the town centre. 

Frances said they were concerned that none of the funding would be used for ‘beautification’ and so they decided to reform In Bloom. 

Cathy is the niece of local councillor Faye Webber, who was one of the driving forces behind the town’s previous award-winning floral displays and will be helping the new team as a consultant. 

The rest of the committee is made up of well-known fundraiser Lisa Mackenzie and local IT expert Jon-Paul Davidson. 

The previous committee folded in 2011 over uncertainty over funding, lack of sponsorship and a rise in the cost of watering.

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Frances said the plan is to develop the project over three years, starting on a fairly low key basis for this summer and gradually building up as more members of the community get on board. 

It is hoped to have floral displays, hanging baskets and art exhibitions in the town centre, with ‘captains’ looking after their own section of the town. 

For example, if the Gammon Walk captain is a trader they would try and encourage other traders to take part and to liaise with the Bloom committee. 

Frances said: “Craig Bulley at Green Lanes has been fantastic already by offering support and space for exhibitions, displays and children's art work. Businesses that cannot give money, can support 'in kind' and we look forward to working with them. 

“Barnstaple in Bloom is not only about summer planting but looks to the future for really creative, thoughtful planting with smart, clean streets and communities truly proud of the town. 

“With ‘staycations’ inevitable for the British public this year, North Devon will be an attractive destination with Barnstaple as the central hub of shopping and culture.  

“We want visitors to our town to come back year after year and therefore this opportunity aims to be make Barnstaple an attractive and buzzing place to be.” 

Any individuals or businesses who would like to get involved, donate or become volunteers for Barnstaple In Bloom 2021 are invited to email Frances Bell on frances@barnstapleinbloom.co.uk or call 07736 524514. 

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