Keep Calm And Keep Blooming This Summer

Trophy triumph: Green-fingered Kim Hodson-Walker (right) with the park's Michael Holgate and Ellen Cartwright
Trophy triumph: Green-fingered Kim Hodson-Walker (right) with the park's Michael Holgate and Ellen Cartwright

Monday, 11, Jun 2018 03:41

By William Coleman

Cumbria's Holgates Holiday Parks have returned from the North West in Bloom awards with a whole bunch of floral and conservation accolades.

The six-strong group scooped no fewer than nine top prizes in the annual competition which saw hundreds of businesses and communities take part from across the region.

But there was a tenth fanfare after the glittering ceremony when parks owner Michael Holgate gave special thanks to a member of staff who helped make it all possible.

Kim Hodson-Walker, warden at the Holgate group's Netherbeck Park, was praised by Michael for her "amazing energy and inspiration" in laying the ground for the awards.

Green-fingered Kim, assisted by other park staff, helped all six Holgates parks gain top gold honours in the North West in Bloom awards.

There was another gold too for the fantastic floral displays at The Royal gastro-pub in the village of Silverdale which the Holgates group owns.

But the judges still hadn't finished, for they then went on to name the company's flagship Silverdale park as the overall winner in the "Best Caravan Park" category.

And the spotlight continued to beam on Silverdale as it was announced that it had been awarded a discretionary trophy for its outstanding conservation and environmental achievements.

The judges noted the raft of work undertaken at Silverdale to protect and benefit the natural world.

It includes the planting last year of eight miles of new hedgerows as well as thousands of native trees, and the creation of numerous wildlife habitats in its grounds.

The North West awards are in addition to other accolades won by Holgates for its many green initiatives, including the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.

However, said Michael Holgate, these latest NW accolades have a special significance:

"We were up against literally hundreds of contenders in this competition, and it was wonderful to see Kim and her team take centre stage time after time!" he said.

"Holiday guests often comment on how visually stunning our parks look, not just in spring but also right throughout the year, thanks to Kim's careful planning.

"She also gives priority to high nectar-bearing blooms, including wild flowers, which provide valuable foraging for butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators," added Michael.

The business was started over 60 years ago by Michael's father Frank who is remembered in the NW bloom awards with a special prize for biodiversity.

The Frank W Holgate Memorial Trophy was this year presented to a village community from Garstang, near Preston, which transformed a wasteland into a thriving public garden.

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