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Gillingham has picked up gold for the second year running in the South West in Bloom pennant category.

It was also the winner among the town entries in the north of the South West in Bloom area.

The life-size model of an astronaut on Station Road to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American moon landing was one of the highlights for judges.

But the judges, who visited in July, also went to see the Thorngrove Garden centre were youngsters from Topsie Rabbit kindergarten have their own mini-allotment plot, and Milton-on-Stour to see the Living Churchyard project and a new fingerpost sign. Other destinations on the tour included the Memorial Garden at Gillingham primary school, the Town Meadow, Wesley Gardens and the communal gardens at Barnaby Mead flats.

Ironically, at one point organisers considered not entering this year because they felt that the town was not quite ready this time round for the competition.

Greeting the news of the gold award town clerk Julie Hawkins said: ‘Well done to the Town Council grounds team! Fantastic achievement!’

During their visit in July one of the judges, Graham Price, described the spaceman display as ‘very good’. He said at the time: ‘It’s unique – we won’t see another like that on our travels!’

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