Gateacre in Bloom 2004
The visit of the 'North West in Bloom' judges recalled by Beryl Plent
The morning of Friday July 9th was overcast and chilly but, in spite of the lack of bright sunshine, the village centre sparkled. Never before in Gateacre had so much environmental maintenance been achieved in so short a time, thanks to the efforts of local ward councillors and a small but dedicated band of 'Friends of Gateacre' committee members.
With just two hours to impress the judges, the group set off from the village green, on a route encompassing Halewood Road, Belle Vale Road, Grange Lane, Chartmount Way, Gateacre Brow, Sandfield Road and Dale Mews. It wasn't all just about pretty flowers, though they were seen in abundance, but the overall appearance, attractiveness and cleanliness of the area. Our having so many listed buildings to show off must have helped.
Points were gained for participation by the local community, businesses and shopkeepers. There were at least half a dozen back and front gardens which were noted down and photographed by the judges. I could not but be amazed at the hard work, skill and patience of the gardeners involved - only pressure of time stopped us giving the attention they all deserved.
One example of a small detail which earned us a 'tick in a box' was the painting of an office door shiny black, to match the newly painted bollards which are such a feature of Gateacre. Choosing a favourite from the memorable gardens and flower displays on show, I found exceedingly difficult, but the hanging basket outside St Stephen's Court got full marks from me.
The headmaster, staff and pupils of Gateacre Comprehensive School had all played their part, by giving Queen Victoria's monument a good scrub and by turning out, the day before judging, in the pouring rain for a G-litter raid in and around the village. On our return to the Black Bull, for a welcome coffee, the judges were asked to choose 6 winners from the colourful artwork executed by 12 and 13 year old pupils.
I think the Gateacre Society can be proud of its role as a Patron of the 'Friends of Gateacre', whose first entry into the competition this was. We contributed historical information and maps to the portfolio which was presented to the judges. The photographs in this portfolio highlighted the progress of the Friends' campaign - and reminded us all how much had been achieved in just three months.