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Village goes for gold

PUBLISHED: 09:43 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:31 03 July 2010

A Norfolk village is going for gold today - with the help of nearly every other colour in the rainbow as well.

Residents in Filby, near Yarmouth, have been making Olympian last-minute efforts to impress Britain in Bloom judges who will arrive at lunchtime today to assess the results of almost a year of hard work and planning.

A Norfolk village is going for gold today - with the help of nearly every other colour in the rainbow as well.

Residents in Filby, near Yarmouth, have been making Olympian last-minute efforts to impress Britain in Bloom judges who will arrive at lunchtime today to assess the results of almost a year of hard work and planning.

The village has reached the final of the Britain in Bloom category for communities with fewer than 1,000 residents and will be competing against Scarva in Northern Ireland, Earsdon in Tyne and Wear, East Budleigh in Devon, and Raglan in Wales.

For the past two weeks, chief organiser and village postmaster Adrian Thompson has been co-ordinating a watering effort with almost military precision, using as much as 2,000 litres a day.

And residents were out in force until dusk last night mowing verges, picking up litter near the busy road that truncates the village, and pouncing on any impudent weeds or dead blooms.

But Mr Thompson said the effort in bringing the display to its peak was nothing compared to the hard work carried out at the end of June.

“That is our hectic planting-out period. This is our biggest display ever and we have planted out 16,500 bedding plants including 170 hanging baskets,” he said.

Filby has been taking part in In Bloom contests since 1995 and previously won the national competition in 2002, as well as bringing home Anglia in Bloom titles on several occasions.

Mr Thompson said: “This is our first Britain in Bloom campaign since we won it and we have had many nice comments and letters to suggest it is our best-ever display.

“We know people drive through Filby especially to see the floral displays and you see them stopping their cars to take photographs.”

Earlier this year, their efforts appeared under threat after a survey of Filby's lamp standards revealed they were unfit to take the weight of hanging baskets. But Mr Thompson praised the response of Norfolk county and Yarmouth borough councils and their contractors in replacing the lampposts in time.

This year's special displays include a water feature designed and built out of recycled cans by Ellie Beatie, an engineering student at Langley School near Loddon, and a “Viking” ship bedecked with flowers.

The Back to your Roots competition theme has inspired a Far East prisoners of war display.

“Filby boys were among soldiers from the Royal Norfolks' 4th, 5th and 6th battalions who were captured at Singapore,” explained Mr Thompson.

A core of about 10 helpers goes to work every Saturday of the year but Mr Thompson said countless more villagers took part by doing their own thing.


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