TENANTS at a Burton retirement complex that was saved from closure by a Mail campaign are celebrating after scooping a top prize in a special garden competition.
Garden enthusiasts who live at the newly refurbished Elizabeth Court sheltered accommodation scheme in Burton have snapped-up the top prize in this year’s Winshill In Bloom competition, taking home the best ‘floral feature category’.
The victory has come only a few months after a £3.2 million redevelopment project was completed at the site by Trent & Dove Housing, who took on the ownership and management of the complex after the Mail won a campaign in 2011 to save it from closing its doors and being bulldozed.
John Humphreys, who has been titled ‘head gardener’ by the other residents, said: “Entering the Winshill in Bloom competition has encouraged many of the older residents at Elizabeth Court to get outdoors and take part in various gardening activities, the communal gardens are now a fantastic place for people to sit and enjoy during the summer months.
“We are all thrilled by the results from this year’s competition – the hard work has paid off.
“As well as the floral decorations, we have grown a tasty selection of root vegetables that all the residents can enjoy.
“We look forward to collecting the £50 cash prize at the official awards ceremony in September.
“The money will be invested back into the project so that we can grow more of the same next year.”
In just seven weeks, the green fingered residents transformed their communal gardens into a social hub for everyone to enjoy.
The judges, councillor Dennis Fletcher and Paul Speed, from East Staffordshire’s Borough Council, awarded the gold certificate to the Elizabeth Court residents after assessing more than 20 other entries within their category. They were commended for their collection of beautifully presented baskets and quirky boarders.
Caroline Wildes, who is the scheme manager at the Elizabeth Court complex, said: “People have invested a lot of their free time into this project; it shows just how much people care about where they live.”