Sandown was buzzing when the South & South East in Bloom judges visited the town to set eyes on this year’s entry in the Small Coastal Town category. 

The day was sunny, tourists abounded, the sea looked inviting and both new and old seafront businesses were busy. Sandown’s international blue flag – the only one on the Island – fluttered in a light breeze.

The judging route showed off the work of Sandown Green Town Volunteers, Friends of Battery Gardens, Artecology and the Common Space, Sandown Yarnbombers and Crafters, Spreading Sunshine Isle of Wight and Sandown Community Association’s educational window display in the micro-museum. Included in the entry were the floral displays of businesses and homes along the route which ran from Battery Gardens to Dinosaur Isle, the Willow Walk and the Vertipools at Science Beach.

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Judging is based on 3 areas: horticulture, including the overall impressions of planted areas as well as the standard and maintenance of plant selection; the environment, including the natural environment such as biodiversity and wildlife habitats, local heritage and street cleanliness; and community, the coming together of local groups working to improve their area.

Sandown has a high level of community commitment – new planters in the High Street, which arrived just in time for the judging, were financed by Yaverland Ladies, the Carnival Association and the business community. The work of Sandown Community Association in organising Sandown in Bloom and their Power of Flower shop window competition all contributed to Sandown’s entry.

Ben Holbrook, Deputy Chair of Sandown Green Town Volunteers, has said:

“We were delighted to achieve a Gold award last year and would like to do so again. Our volunteers have worked tirelessly to achieve this, including moving tons of sand from Eastern Gardens. We do all we can to improve Sandown and make it attractive as a holiday resort.

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“From the friendly thanks and smiles we receive as we work about the town we know that our actions create a sense of wellbeing in Sandown and its people”.

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