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Greenfingered champions recognised at awards

Dedicated volunteers who "go above and beyond" to help improve their communities have been honoured for their hard work at a special awards ceremony.

Celebration Eve 2017 - group shot

Fenland's numerous Street Pride, In Bloom and Friends groups were recognised for their tireless efforts to improve the district's street scene and open spaces at Fenland District Council's annual Celebration Evening on Thursday, October 5.

More than 100 volunteers attended the event at March Braza Club, with a host of accolades for best nature, partnership, street scene, youth and promotional project being presented along with best clean-up.

In an opening address, Councillor Peter Murphy, the council's Portfolio Holder for the Environment, thanked volunteers for their continued dedication and passion to making Fenland a better place to live and work.

"The contribution from our hard working volunteers is invaluable and continues to make a huge difference to Fenland," he said.

"They help to keep the district a clean, green and safe place for all; going above and beyond litter picking to broaden their aims and focus on new activities such as clearing neglected sites. We can't thank them enough for everything they do."

The ceremony heard that in the last six months alone, since April 2017, there had been more than 100 events planned by the groups to improve local areas.

This year has also seen two new Street Pride groups formed in Doddington and Elm, taking the total number to 14, and Street Pride groups in Whittlesey, Chatteris and Parson Drove have celebrated their tenth anniversary. Wisbech In Bloom also scooped its tenth consecutive Gold Award in the recent Anglia in Bloom competition.

Cllr Murphy presented the awards along with the council's Street Pride co-ordinator Rebecca Robinett. The winners were:

  • Best Nature Project

Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve; for a Tesco Bags of Help-funded project with wildlife charity Froglife, creating new habitats, amphibian walks and running workshops

  • Best Partnership Project

Whittlesey Street Pride; for work with the Round Table and Lions to install three new benches around the town

Highly commended - Doddington Street Pride; for promotional stalls at Doddington Carnival and the local Horticultural Society show, where new members were recruited

  • Best Street Scene Project

March Street Pride/In Bloom; for transforming a run-down piece of land opposite the West End DIY store into an eye-catching feature, with raised flower beds and a plough in homage to the area's farming heritage.

Highly commended - Friends of March Railway Station; for transforming an area of wasteland at the railway station into a memorial garden

  • Best Youth Project

Joint winners:

Wisbech In Bloom, Waterlees in Bloom/Street Pride; for their work with Orchard Primary School

Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery; for an Armistice Day commemoration ceremony involving pupils from St Peter's Junior School

  • Best Promotional Project (a new category for this year)

Joint winners:

Benwick In Bloom/Street Pride; for installing a photo montage in the village bus shelter and organising the first ever Benwick Exhibition in May

Chatteris In Bloom/Street Pride; for its creative remembrance project, The Fallen, which featured hand-knitted poppies cascading from the beacon in the church grounds.

  • Best Clean Up

Wisbech Street Pride; for organising a litter pick with staff from Tesco as part of Keep Britain Tidy's Great British Spring Clean campaign in March

The evening also included a buffet supper and quiz, along with a presentation from guest speaker Kelly Gilders, of the Care Network, who talked about funding opportunities available through the Healthy Fenland Fund.

Cllr Murphy also presented a £500 Street Pride start-up grant to the new Street Pride group in Doddington, and a further £500 will also be donated to the new group in Elm.

Article added: October 6, 2017