A COMMUNITY garden and orchard in Wirral won a North West in Bloom award just months after being struck by vandals and thieves.
The two sites in Birkenhead – a small oasis at the back of the Glass Barrel Enterprise Centre and a community allotment and orchard on Ashfield Road – have won the prestigious title.
Judges were impressed by both green areas which married with this year’s theme Edible Britain – to encourage people to grow their own food.
They were judged alongside gardens throughout Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
The group have yet to hear their result which will announced at a ceremony in October and presented with a prize.
The award is part of the national RHS Britain in Bloom awards.
Heading the two schemes is Jim Barrington. He said: “We are delighted with this award.
“The judges were really impressed and enthusiastic when they saw both programmes, which only began this year.
“They gave us tips and advice on how we can improve the green space for next year.
“All this is down to our community gardener, Steve Fuller, who has worked tirelessly on both the community garden and allotment, and has led a team of volunteers.
“The award is even more pleasing given that we were attacked by vandals two weeks before the judging date. We had a lot of work to do as well as clearing up the mess.”
In June, vandals armed with white paint hurled it across the community garden on Albion Street, just a few weeks before judging was to take place.
Thankfully an army of volunteers rallied together and cleared up the mess in time.
Then in July, thieves struck and stole 30 trees from the community orchard.
Jim added: “The two incidences happened just before the sites were to be judged.
“It is only through the dedication and hardwork from everyone that we were able to pull through and present the two areas to the judges and win an award.
“The irony of the theft is that the culprits only had to apply for a fruit tree to be given one, as we have a scheme in place to give away free trees.
“We now have CCTV in place to prevent any further thefts.”