Plea to rekindle bloom challenge

An avid horticulturalist who was commended six years in a row as part of the annual Banbury in Bloom competition is urging residents to help rekindle it.

Mel Allsopp, of Flix Hair in Parsons Street, was successful in several categories of the competition from 2007 until 2012 when the town council was forced to end the competition because of a lack of interest. Mr Allsopp first entered with his wife Elaine, who died in 2008. Since then he continued entering the competition in her memory and renamed the courtyard Elaine’s Secret Garden.

Mel Allsopp in the garden

Mel Allsopp in the garden

He said: “It’s a shame it had to end but there was no point having a two-horse race. It just needs to be rekindled a bit.”

Mr Allsopp added he is hoping more younger people will be interested in taking part following a recent surge in interest in gardening spurred on by shows such as the BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge.

Councillor Colin Clarke, chairman of the town council’s general services committee, said: “If there is sufficient interest, we could think about resurrecting it next year.”

Those keen to take part should e-mail the town council on for the attention of Mr Clarke.