Volunteers and businesses are celebrating after Melton was recognised for the quality of its floral displays in the latest annual East Midlands In Bloom event.
Melton In Bloom was given a prestigious Silver Gilt in the ‘large towns’ category - one of five awards handed out to projects in the town.
Silver Gilts were also awarded to the Kettleby Cross pub, in the class for best hotel or pub garden, and Richard Barnes Funeral Directors, for best retail and commercial premises.
In addition, the striking poppy art displays on the wall of the Boyes budget store won a judges’ award and there was a Silver for the residents at Flat 38, Chapel Street in Melton, in the best residential garden category.
Marie Walters, chair of Melton In Bloom, which co-ordinated around a dozen volunteers for the work which went into the town entry, said: “We are thrilled to win the Silver Gilt, partly because we were short of volunteers this year.
“We are really, really pleased because everyone who took part worked so hard.”
Mrs Walters praised the efforts of those behind the award-winning displays on Boyes’ wall and at the funeral directors.
But she said the town could have won a Gold if more businesses had taken part in the campaign across Melton.
“We were aware we weren’t getting a Gold because of the amount of weeds we had in the town,” said Mrs Walters.
“Quite a few people didn’t join in the spirit of the thing and for a town of our size we really should be getting more volunteers and businesses involved.”
She added: “When you look at the Gold medal-winning towns, most of their businesses took part.
“They had pots outside or they did something special with their windows.
“Not enough do it in Melton, especially in Market Place, and we seem to be fighting a losing battle to get more involved.”
The paintings of poppies on the wall of Boyes, in Wilton Road, came about through a collaboration between ARTSenter group, Melton In Bloom and Melton Art Club and they were hung three years ago to commemorate the start of the First World War.
ARTSenter group member Brian Hodder, who was one of four artists who painted the poppy panels, said: “What pleases me most is that success with the poppies provides long-standing visual support for the Melton in Bloom members who do a wonderful job, week in week out, for the town.
“I am grateful to everyone who took part, from the Melton Art Group group through to the Prince’s Trust, and several other friends and supporters which also generated £250 for the Royal British Legion fund.
Not only that but we are all so pleased that the paintings have lasted so well and not been subject to damage, which was one of our big fears.”
There was also success for Syston in the East Midlands In Bloom awards. The town council won a Silver award in the ‘large towns’ class and Merton Primary School was given a certificate of achievement in the best school garden category.
There were entries from 47 villages, towns and cities across six counties for this year’s awards. They were judges according to horticultural expertise, maintenance of the local environment and involvement of all sectors of the community.
There were 20 Gold winners, 18 with Silver Gilts and 15 with Silvers.
Awards chair Jeff Bates said: “This year we saw yet more new groups enter, joining established entrants, all of which want to improve and maintain their locality.
“The awards are given in recognition for all the hard work, time and dedication to enrich the environment where we all live.
“We are also very grateful for the support from business, which enables us to continue each year.”