Wigan romps home at in Bloom finals and wows judges with a QR code trail.

Wigan Borough Council swept the board at the recent North West in Bloom finals and paid tribute to hundreds of volunteers.

The borough scooped a record 22 prizes including two gold medals at a ceremony held in Southport. Wigan won the title of best large metropolitan borough a few weeks after judges at the Britain in Bloom finals gave the borough a silver gilt prize in the national competition.

Among the local winners in the regional finals was Howe Bridge, which took gold in the best large town category, while communities from Ashton-in-Makerfield to Standish also won. One of the biggest eye-openers was a QR code trail to draw youngsters into local spaces.

Wigan’s in Bloom coordinator Damian Jenkinson, runner-up in the BBC’s Young Gardener of the Year competition, said: "These results are brilliant. Every year we do better and better in the finals but to come away with 22 awards is just incredible.

"Last year we got 17 awards and it’s not just the amount that goes up but the quality: some winners went from bronze to silver gilt, others up to gold. The award for Howe Bridge was especially sweet as it’s one of the hardest categories because of the number of entries."

Other wins included a best neighbourhood and an award for environment and conservation, which went to St Peter’s primary school, which has allotments and polytunnels. Wigan covers 70 square miles and has a population of 305,000.

"Wigan Borough in Bloom is a community project. It is the people of the borough who have made this success possible. It’s their hard work and dedication to making where they live look and feel better that’s paid off so spectacularly. I’m so proud of all they have achieved."

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