DOZENS of volunteers have celebrated positive feedback left by judges after a visit to the town last week for the South West in Bloom competition.

Normally the town, which has claimed a gold medal every year since 2000, would face others of a similar size, but after an exceptional result in 2016, Thornbury faces off against all the other category winners from last year in the “Champion of Champions” category.

All the hard work over the last few months came to a head on Friday as the judges arrived to make their decision, being given a guided tour around the town, starting at the “Love Bed” at the top of Grovesend Road, before visiting the Ring of Thorns outside Tesco, the Rock Street Gardens, Daggs Allotments and the new Morton Bridge wildflower environmental project.

The group were also taken to the Crossway Schools where pupils presented their efforts in growing vegetables, as well as showing the judges their willow structure and outdoor classrooms.

They then took a final trip down the brightly decorated Thornbury High Street, before joining around 60 Thornbury in Bloom volunteers for a buffet lunch at The Swan.

After the visit, Thornbury in Bloom committee member Sue Aitken said: “In my personal opinion, Thornbury is the best it has ever looked.

“Going up against the champions of all sizes is much different to being against towns of our own size. It puts more pressure on us initially but we try to do everything to the best of our ability anyway so the process of making Thornbury a floral spectacle.

“You can’t be nervous about it really because we are happy that we have done the best we could, and if anything we are now very excited to find out the results.”

Thornbury in Bloom will learn how it has fared in the Champion of Champions category on October 5 when results are released.

“I would like to think we have done enough to win a gold,” said Sue. “But if everyone else against us has also won one, it will then come down to who the judges think have done the best.”

Praising the committee, Sue said that a lot of this year’s revitalised enthusiasm was down to new chairman Sheila Forsythe, also commending long-serving committee members Sid Philp and Joan Tuck for having helped guide the group since its formation 26 years ago.

“It has been a really good year for us,” she said. “We have had great weather and so many extra people taking part in helping has meant we could do more.

“A big thank you goes out to everyone who has put their time and effort in, however big or small, to Sandra at the Swan for her wonderful spread, and to our sponsors, whose backing is vital to our success.”