Peebles is blooming beautiful, say judges

Overall Champion of Champions - Peebles at 2016 Floral Gateway awards
Judge Bert Duncan and Cllr Paterson with Avril Murray of Peebles who won the Champion of Champions category
Overall Champion of Champions - Peebles at 2016 Floral Gateway awards Judge Bert Duncan and Cllr Paterson with Avril Murray of Peebles who won the Champion of Champions category
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Peebles has been named champion of champions after doing blooming well in the 17th Floral Gateway awards, held at Scottish Borders Council’s headquarters last week.

The Tweedside town was the pick of the crop for the first time after judges were impressed with the amount of work volunteers put into making their town beautiful.

Avril Murray, of volunteers’ group Bonnie Peebles, spoke of her pride in her group’s work.

She said: “We are delighted to be named champion of champions.

“Such a lot of hard work goes into it, and it is fantastic to have that work recognised.

“There is a lot of community spirit in Peebles, and that comes through in what we do.”

The group looks after eight flowerbeds in the town, which they volunteered to take over after the council made budget cutbacks.

She said: “We didn’t want to lose any of the beds, so we took them all on.”

The full results were: champion of champions – Peebles.

Town – 1, Kelso; 2, Hawick; 3, Galashiels.

Large village – 1, Melrose; 2, Newtown St Boswells; 3, Lauder.

Small village – 1, Ayton; 2, Greenlaw; 3, Ancrum.

Wee village – 1, Birgham; 2, Morebattle; 3, Burnmouth.

Border Biodiversity winner – Ancrum.

Clean and tidy winners – Duns, Eyemouth, Kelso and Melrose.

Quality of life winners – Lauder and Birgham.

Welcome award winners – Duns, Eyemouth, Kelso and Lauder.

The four joint winners of the clean and tidy Award each receive a new waste bin for their communities, while the two quality of life winners will receive a new bench.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor David Paterson, the council’s executive member for environmental services, said: “The Floral Gateway Awards aim to recognise the huge amount of work which goes in across the Borders by teams of volunteers, and I am delighted that communities have also embraced the new awards we introduced last year.

“Well done to all participants, but particularly the hard-working team at Peebles who thoroughly deserved the champion of champions award.

“On behalf of the council, I thank all the entries for their efforts in helping to make the Borders a beautiful place to live and visit.”