Communities find out who's the blooming best
LOCAL communities waited with bated breath at last week's awards ceremony to find out how they had fared in this year's Formartine In Bloom competition.
The annual competition, organised by the Formartine Partnership for the past 15 years, aims to encourage community groups to get involved with making Formartine a pleasant and desirable place to live, work and visit.
More than 120 people attended the ceremony in Meldrum Academy on Thursday evening, representing the 14 participating communities, the eight schools competing in this year's Beginning to Blossom competition, sponsors, supporters and organisers.
The competition was once again judged by Aberdeenshire Council Landscape Services' staff members Jack Grant and Ken Regan, who admitted that they greatly enjoy their time visiting all the different communities and said that they are disappointed when communities choose to drop out of the competition as they know many settlements are putting in the hard work regardless of whether they are competing or not.
The awards on the night were presented by Jack, and first up were the villages, hamlets and settlements categorised by Formartine In Bloom as small communities.
In this category, highly commended awards were presented to Foveran, Udny Station, Woodhead Of Fyvie and Auchterless.
Anticipation in the room built as guests waited to find out who would take home the small community crown, and in the end it was Cultercullen who were announced as this category's winners with Collieston taking the runners-up title.
The prize giving continued with the medium communities and this time it was Cuminestown, Fyvie and Pitmedden who were walking away with highly commended awards.
In an incredibly rare occurrence, there was a tie for the runners-up position with both Methlick and Tarves being awarded the title after the judge's decided that it was too close to call between the two communities.
The winner of the medium communities was then announced as Newburgh.
Unfortunately there was once again just two towns competing in the large communities category, with both Ellon and Balmedie opting not to participate in the competition this year.
Oldmeldrum was successful in maintaining its streak in the top spot, with Turriff taking the runners-up position.
Following the presentation of prizes, Jack commended all of the 14 communities in their efforts against this year's exceptionally tricky weather conditions and said: “The standard this year was just as good as ever - every year is different, but every year is brilliant.”
There was one final award to be presented at the event, and this one was new for the 2019 competition.
The award for Most Improved Settlement in Formartine, as decided by the staff at Aberdeenshire Council's landscape services, was open to a community from any of the three categories and was this year presented by the team's Andrew McIntyre.
It was with to great delight that Udny Station were crowned the inaugural recipients of this prestigious accolade.
The prize for this category is a bench made from recycled materials which the Council will now install free of charge in Udny Station at a location of the community's choice.