RAF centenary inspires Hartlepool village’s annual Northumbria in Bloom entry

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays. RAF 100 birthday
Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays. RAF 100 birthday

The centenary of the RAF has provided inspiration for a colourful floral display in Greatham.

A flower bed has been planted in colours representing the red, white and blue of the RAF with information boards put up about Greatham’s airfield and airmen from the village who served in the Second World War.

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays. RAF 100th birthday

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays. RAF 100th birthday

It is part of its annual entry into the Northumbria In Bloom competition.

Brian Walker of the Greatham in Bloom committee said: “We decided to have an RAF bed because it is the centenary and to link it in with the fact there used to be RAF in Greatham.

“The flower bed scheme is red, white and blue and we have also tried to represent the RAF roundel with plants, that’s the centrepiece.

“We have also linked it in with some of the people from Greatham who left to serve in the RAF in the Second World War with their names and pictures on information boards.

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays.  Votes for Women display

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays. Votes for Women display

“It is always nice to have the faces so people can see the real people rather than just a list of names. Before the airfield opened the RAF had a volunteer training school and quite a few village lads took advantage of it on their doorstep.”

They included men such as Vyvyan Howard, William Allison and Saxby Stonehouse.

During the early years of the war, Greatham served as a forward fighter base for Catterick and allowed cover to be given to sea convoys from Whitby to the Wear.

A Spitfire that took off from Greatham on April 3, 1940 became the first fighter aircraft lost to the Luftwaffe in defence of Britain.

Brian said the display opposite Woodbine Terrace has attracted plenty of attention.

Judges for Northumbria In Bloom visited Greatham in April and again two weeks ago.

“They don’t give anything much away but they do look for things that celebrate local heritage and nationally history,” added Brian.

Other displays in Front Street pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Suffragette movement and 70 years of the NHS.

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays.  NHS display

Ann Murray with the Greatham Northumbria in Bloom displays. NHS display

The display marking a century of women winning the vote uses flowers the same colours as those of the Suffragette movement of green, white and purple.

And stones spell out NHS and the year it was formed of 1948.

The heatwave has meant lots more watering for the Greatham in Bloom team, which is made up entirely of volunteers.