QUARRY Bank has blossomed in the last 12 months, according to the Heart of England in Bloom Campaign judges who have awarded the town a silver gilt award.

Dedicated volunteers were delighted to receive a silver award for their first-ever entry in the prestigious community campaign last year - and this year's accolade, which is a step higher, has left them overjoyed.

The Quarry Bank in Bloom team were given the good news last night (Thursday September 14) at an awards ceremony for the 2017 Heart of England in Bloom Awards held in the Great Hall at Warwick Castle.

Around 180 delegates from villages, towns, urban communities and cities across the region attended the presentation for this year’s entries where president of Heart of England in Bloom, Les Goodman, said: “The judges are well aware of the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm that go into an entry.

"There is no doubt that the Heart of England campaign gives communities across the West Midlands and Gloucestershire a chance to improve the area in which they live through wonderful floral displays, environmental projects and community participation."

The judges were taken on a two-hour tour of Quarry Bank in July - taking in Saltwells Nature Reserve, Stevens Park, Christ Church, Quarry Bank Primary School and Quarry Bank Community Centre - to see if the 15-strong dedicated team of volunteers had taken on board tips from the previous year.

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Although they didn't give much away on the day - they were clearly impressed with what they'd seen and rewarded Quarry Bank with a silver gilt award which is one step away from gold.

Volunteer Tom Keys said: "Those who travel via Quarry Bank cannot fail to see, even today, the wonderful display of flowers up and down the High Street but without the support of the volunteers, shopkeepers and residents this would not have happened."

Quarry Bank councillor David Sparks (pictured above, second left, with the judges and ward councillor Bryan Cotterill, right) said: "Everybody involved in Quarry Bank in Bloom deserves congratulations on this award because it has been a big boost for Quarry Bank."

The Heart of England in Bloom Campaign is the regional part of the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom Campaign and aims to encourage communities to work together to improve and enhance their environment.

Halesowen's entry won the top gold award and was also this year's category winner in the urban community category.

Stourbridge did not enter the awards scheme for the second year running - after an eight-year run of gaining top gold awards.

Organiser David Harcourt cancelled the town's entry in 2016 after Dudley Council trimmed its green care budget.

Anyone interested in assisting with or sponsoring Quarry Bank's 2018 entry in the Bloom campaign is invited to a meeting at Quarry Bank Community Centre, Sheffield Street, on Wednesday September 20 at 6.30pm.