JUDGES from a prestigious horticultural competition got to see first-hand how community spirit is being cultivated in a former mining village.
Judges from the Northumbria in Bloom competition visited Horden to cast their eye over the colourful and vibrant blooms that have been planted to brighten up the area.
They visited a number of sites, including the village’s Memorial Park, Welfare Park, Thorpe Road Cemetery, Cotsford Junior School, local allotments and the Durham Heritage Coast to see how local residents have been planting blooms to enhance their environment.
The judges remained tight-lipped about their marks for the bright displays during the first round of judging and will return to the village in July for a final judging round.
Horden Parish Council clerk Paul Davison said: “We are very confident that we can get a silver award again or even a gold.
“It’s not just a parish council scheme, it’s a full community effort.”
The council, meanwhile, is appealing for green-fingered gardening fans to join the management committee of the Horden in Bloom group.
Mr Davison said: “We’d like to hear from anyone with an interest in gardening, who wants to help regenerate the area or has horticulture skills that they can pass on.
“Committee skills would be an advantage. But the most important thing is that we’d like to hear from anyone of any age who wants to make Horden a cleaner, more enjoyable place and would like to get involved.”
The Horden in Bloom project began in 2004 when community workers organised two days of action in preparation for visits by the Northumbria in Bloom judging panel.
Three years later, the village received four separate awards thanks to the efforts of Horden in Bloom and Horden Parish Council.
In 2010, Horden won a silver award in the town category which it was entered for, due to the village’s size.
Volunteers will be asked to attend one monthly meeting – usually less than an hour – and help out at two action days that take place each year.
Any further commitment would be up to the volunteer.
Anyone interested in joining Horden in Bloom should call the council on (0191) 5180823.