The church hall was packed with the hopeful faces of participants in this year’s Thornton Heath in Bloom.

Around 80 entrants came to the prize-giving at St Andrew’s Church in July.

Now in its fourth year, the competition organised by Thornton Heath Community Action Team garnered 117 entries,  including street planters, compared to the 39 entries in the first year.

Linda Watson, Chair of  THCAT, opened the evening by saying: “ I know you are very keen to hear who the winners are , but in fact you are all winners! This is because you have all contributed to making our area more beautiful – cleaner and greener”.  

This year saw a different  judge for each of the five categories including nine-year-old school girl Tiah Caesa who judged the children’s section and 17-year-old Brit school students, Daniella Teibowei, and Lucas Akridas the best In Bloom business.

Deputy council leader Alison Butler, spoke at the prize giving ceremony thanking THCAT and adding: “It’s very clear what a difference a beautiful garden makes to people’s well-being.  Pleasure spreads across the community – everyone has a smile when they walk past flowers and beautiful gardens

“And it adds to the fact that people in Thornton Heath do really care, they want this to be a great place.”

Prizes included: one year’s free council garden waste collection, vouchers from: Fireaway Pizza, Thornton Heath Leisure Centre, Sainsbury, Woodcote Nursery, Tesco, YBR Cakes, Lazzat Tandoori restaurant, artist Samantha Warren, The Barbers Store and MP Steve Reed.

  Self employed therapeutic gardener Catherine Graham who works at Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses  and is Chair for both The Friends of Park Hill Park  and Wandle Park judged the best front garden.

Of the winning entry she said : “This made me just go wow!   I just loved it from the moment I saw it.  A tough call between number  one and two but for me this had variety in planting, edibles, herbs, mini pond, even a mini dead hedge at the back of the garden and what looked like a banana tree!

Winner: Muriel Kingsley, of  The Drive; 2nd:  Neil Powney, Colliers Water Lane; 3rd   Terrence Pilgrim, Frant Rd.

Judge Tiah Caeser, said about he winning garden in the childrens category: “It was child friendly with vibrant colours that attracted bees and made me happy!“

Winner: Ivana’s Little Froggies,  Windsor Road;  2: Rahzia Borelani  and Alison and SL Chai,  Beulah Crescent.

The best concrete front garden was judged by Graham Mitchell .

Winner:  Rita Bethune, Burlington Road: 2nd  Anne Hone, Bensham Lane; 3rd: Barbara White,   Winterbourne Rd.

THCAT committee member Graham Mitchell  Chair of  the Friends of  Thornton Heath Rec and Norbury Brook Alliance,  and  Winner of the Mayor Of Croydon’s Civic Awards – Don’t Mess with Croydon judged the  best concrete garden category said: ”I met the lovely Rita. She told me that she grows her plants from seed and she looks after a couple of allotments…truly a star gardener.”

Daniella  and Lucas judging the business category chose: Winner for the second year running; John Wilson (Wilsons Garage)   Beulah Road; 2nd:  St James the Great Primary School,  Windsor Road; 3rd   Annette Rose, Elsie Henderson and Esmie Alexander  of AgeUK, Brigstock Rd. 

Peter Lawrence – also member of THCAT committee, instigator of Pete’s Planters with now 50 plus  adorning the streets and spaces of Thornton Heath judged the contest.

Winner:   Yashika Jagwant, Buller Road; 2nd  Liz  Fennemore and team – Street Action project Buxton Road; 3rd  Della Reilly, Totton Road .