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Historic Ventnor Park on the Isle of Wight has been awarded the Park of the Year Award at the South and South East England in Bloom Awards.

It is the first time one of the Isle of Wight Council’s parks has been named park of the year at the prestigious awards, which this year were staged in Brighton.

Ventnor Park is one of four Isle of Wight Council parks recognised at the awards.

In the large park category, Appley Park, Ryde was awarded a silver gilt medal certificate, and Puckpool Park, Ryde was awarded a silver medal certificate. In the small park category, the Cascades, Ventnor was awarded a silver medal certificate.

As well as being park of the year, Ventnor Park also received a gold medal certificate.

The council’s parks manager, Nigel Leppard, together with the Island manager for the council’s grounds maintenance contractor John O’Conner Ltd, Stan Hayden, received the awards on behalf of the council. The park is maintained by John O’Conner Ltd via its partnership contract with the council.

The awards at the event were presented by South and South East England in Bloom chairman, Peter Holman, Jim Buttress from the BBC’s The Big Allotment Challenge, and Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.

This year was one step better for Ventnor Park, which last year was awarded a gold medal for the first time at the awards.

The judges this year described Ventnor Park’s summer bedding borders and raised planters as “superb”. They also noted that “horticultural maintenance was of a high standard”, and described the park as “the quintessential Victorian park and the jewel in the crown of the Island’s parks”.

Executive member with responsibility for the public realm, Councillor Luisa Hillard, said: “This is a magnificent accolade for Ventnor Park and the council’s parks in general.

“It is the first time one of our parks has been recognised in this way and is deserved acknowledgment for the excellent efforts of all those who contribute to the upkeep of the park, and who take such pride in their work.”
Local member, Councillor Steve Stubbings, said: “We are so proud that Ventnor Park has achieved this top award for the south and south east. This is a real feather in the cap for Ventnor and the Island, and for the park to be described as the jewel in the crown of the Island’s parks is especially pleasing.

“I would like to join in the thanks and congratulations to all those who contribute to making it such a pleasurable place for us all to enjoy.”

Ventnor Park dates from the 19th century and covers an area of about seven acres. It features landscaped grounds over a range of different levels, with mature trees, shrubs, herbaceous and bedding borders, a bandstand, a stream with gentle falls and water fowl, a putting green (under concession), and an adult outdoor exercise equipment area.