Chairman 'stunned' as town reaches national stage for first time

Chatteris in Bloom volunteers

Chatteris has been nominated to take part in the Britain in Bloom competition and is one of five places in the Anglia region for the national contest. - Credit: Chatteris in Bloom

The chairman of Chatteris in Bloom said she is “over the moon” for the town to be given the chance to blossom on the national stage. 

Tina Prior has led her committee, a team of around seven volunteers, to a spot in this year’s Britain in Bloom competition having participated in the regional Anglia in Bloom’s regional campaign last year, as well as winning a community award

It was only through email on February 5 that Tina was told the town was invited to the national contest, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, one of five places across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire and Essex to take part. 

Chatteris in Bloom volunteers

Chatteris in Bloom volunteers have been rewarded for their hard work after the town was selected to take part in the Britain in Bloom competition. - Credit: Chatteris in Bloom

“It came as a shock to us,” she said. 

“Although we got gold in the Anglia in Bloom awards, it is Halstead that usually wins our category, but the committee were absolutely stunned and honoured to get a place. 

“They have known Chatteris in Bloom for around 16 years and what places are capable of reaching that level. We’ve upped our game of winning three golds in a row and they thought we’d be up for the challenge.” 

Chatteris in Bloom volunteers

Chatteris in Bloom volunteers have been rewarded for their hard work after the town was selected to take part in the Britain in Bloom competition. - Credit: Chatteris in Bloom

Chatteris in Bloom chairman

Tina Prior, chairman of Chatteris in Bloom, said she and her committee are "stunned" after the town was nominated for the Britain in Bloom competition. - Credit: Chatteris in Bloom

It is usually a winner of the regional competition that gets selected for the national contest, but as last year’s competition was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, officials have instead allowed five places from each region to take part. 

Tina now has the choice of which categories to compete in, and has already got some projects lined up. 

“We have decided to do an environmental project on a nectar bed on the corner of Station Road and putting bug boxes in there,” she said. 

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“Another project is about community engagement and that’s something I think we’ve always managed to do in Chatteris, so that was a no-brainer for us.” 

The team will also look to develop the Wenny Road ‘roundabout’ on Wenny Estate as another way of involving the community. 

Chatteris wins Anglia in Bloom award

Chatteris British Legion youth officer Becky Cooper with the Thank You Garden which won Best Community Effort at the Anglia in Bloom 2020 Virtual Campaign. - Credit: Terry Harris

Reaching the national stage is something the Chatteris in Bloom committee have never achieved before, and are hoping to create a positive impact on the town in years to come. 

“We’re hoping this will bring positive publicity and visitors to the town when permitted,” Tina added. 

“The pinnacle for us would be to win it, which would be phenomenal, but we will not set ourselves ‘pie in the sky’ dreams. 

“We’re pleased to have been nominated and maybe in future if we sustain this level, we can win more golds and our category.” 

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