Displays will be bigger, better and brighter than ever when Immingham and Cleethorpes fly the flag for North East Lincolnshire in Britain In Bloom.
The towns were revealed as finalists for the 2016 contest yesterday, as reported, with Cleethorpes hoping to be crowned Champion of Champions.
National judges will visit the area in August, before announcing the winners in October. Three months earlier their efforts will be judged for East Midlands In Bloom, the regional competition.
Stewart Swinburn, chairman of Immingham In Bloom, said he hoped a new Red Arrows display in the town would help the town collect gold in the national finals.
The display, near the Kennedy Way shopping centre, has been worked on by local schoolchildren to celebrate Cleethorpes hosting the national Armed Forces Day in the summer.
The five model Red Arrows will be placed into the ground on coloured poles with the floral “smoke trails” appearing to flow elegantly into the painted wall, to those observing the display.
And residents can expect to see even more this year, as many of the flowers begin to bloom.
“We’re delighted to be able to represent East Midlands in the national finals. Along with Cleethorpes, we’re the only ones from this area,” said Stewart.
“What we’re pleased about is we entered Britain In Bloom for the first time in 2014, and we got a silver gilt, which is unusual for a first entrant.
“So the aim is to get gold this year. We were told we were only 1 per cent away from getting gold last time, so it’s something for us to work on this year.”
He said new projects, including the RAF display, and a new eco-park in the town, would help collect points from the judges.
Benches around the town are being decorated with flowers for the first time.
The East Midlands judging, he said, would be a “dummy run” for the national finals.
“The judges will hopefully give us some positive feedback without naming the actual result, which will give us an idea of how well we will do in Britain In Bloom,” he added.
The chairman praised the small army of volunteers who have changed the face of Immingham in recent years.
“I’ve just been speaking to a resident who said he thought when we first started it was a waste of time,” he said.
“But he was happy to have been proven wrong.
“People who live here, or drive through the town, tell us how much it has changed. That is proven by the amount of businesses who are sponsoring our displays.”
Bob Callison, chairman of Cleethorpes In Bloom, said he was delighted that the resort had been chosen to represent the region in the Champion of Champions category.
“It doesn’t come any bigger than that,” he declared.
The chairman said new displays would be rolled out this year, including at the newly opened Cleethorpes Pier, and in the seafront gardens, as well as around the new Meridian Globe.
“We stand a good chance,” he said.
“We’ve got the Armed Forces Day so we’re increasing the florabunda through the resort, there will be many more displays.
“If we were to win we would be the very, very best in the country.”
He added: “We were in Britain In Bloom four years ago and we got gold. You can only enter if you have three consecutive gold medals and Cleethorpes is now one of the top six areas in the country.
“We are up there with the very best. It’s down to the committee of In Bloom, the council, grounds maintenance, street cleansing teams, and also the residents, as we all do our bit.
“It’s also down to the people who organise events because they make it a wonderful place to work, live and visit.”
He said the volunteers, who work 365 days a year, often went unnoticed.
“We’re all volunteers, none of us get paid,” he added.
“It costs the volunteers in their time and money to support Cleethorpes In Bloom.”
He added: “We’re hoping for a bit of good weather this year. The judges have been here before so they know what they are coming to see. And we are old hands at it now.”