Town hosts annual visit by South West in Bloom judges as it bids to retain its gold award in the competition this year.

ILFRACOMBE in Bloom is hoping a four hour visit by the judges means the town has impressed in the annual South West in Bloom competition.

Judges John Bawden, Martin Abrahams and Rob Brooke were in the town on Wednesday to assess its entry for next year – and after scooping gold last year, organisers were keen to maintain the standard.

The competition is not just about floral arrangements but includes all parks and open spaces maintained by North Devon Council, environmental responsibility and community participation.

The judges were met at Mullacott by Ilfracombe in Bloom sponsors plus community groups that have entered the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ campaign and the Mayor, Councillor Lynda Courtnadge.

With Bloom chairman Ivan Frances they then toured the town, starting at the Cairn and finishing on the seafront, visiting Bicclescombe Park, the Neighbourhood Award entries, High Street and harbour, travelling as far as Hele.

The visit normally takes about two hours, but this year they toured the town for more than four, which organisers hope is a good sign.

“We would like to thank everyone in the town that has helped and gone that extra mile – the town looked wonderful on the day and even the sun came out,” said Mr Frances.

Now everyone will have to wait until the award ceremony at Weston-Super-Mare on September 20.

* Ilfracombe in Bloom is holding the first ever Ilfracombe Flower and Craft Show on August 12 at the Landmark Pavilion, with seven different sections and a total of 45 classes.

The sections are floral art, cut flowers, pot plants, produce, domestic, craft and photography. They include classes for children – aged eight and under or nine to 12.

Schedules and entry forms are available from Hairport in the High Street, by calling 01271 864937 or email stbrannocks@aol.com.