GREEN-FINGERED volunteers have struck gold at a national awards ceremony.

North Berwick in Bloom scooped a gold medal and also won the coastal category at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom Finals.

Rounding off a memorable evening in London, Dr Libby Morris, chair of North Berwick in Bloom, was one of 11 people from across the UK to be awarded a Community Champion Award.

The accolade recognises her exceptional commitment and dedication to the ‘bloom’ cause in her community.

Dr Morris said: “We were delighted to be one of two Scottish entries into the RHS Britain in Bloom competition for 2022 – but to win our category is very special.

“The challenges of the last two years brought out the best in our community and many different organisations worked together to make our town look beautiful and cared for.

“It was a huge privilege to be chosen to represent Scotland.”

The awards, which were held in RHS Lindley Hall, Westminster, returned after a two-year absence with an increased focus on the environment.

Forty-five finalists from across the UK, who were nominated to the finals after impressing the judges in their regional and national competitions, rose to the challenge of limiting their environmental impact, with more water butts, recycled materials and drought-tolerant species than ever before in their displays.

In addition to being awarded a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal, groups compete in categories including town, village and Business Improvement District, to be named overall category winners, and can be nominated for a series of discretionary awards by a panel of judges.

North Berwick in Bloom won the coastal category and was recognised for its tireless efforts to deliver environmental improvements in the town alongside East Lothian Council.

Judges highlighted that the voluntary group had planted perennial shrubs to cope with harsh maritime conditions, removed bags of invasive cineraria from the sand dunes and installed 15 troughs of herbs and vegetables for the community to pick.

The horticultural group was selected alongside Burgh Beautiful Linlithgow to represent Scotland at the Britain in Bloom finals following their success at the Beautiful Scotland Awards last year.

Beautiful Scotland, which is run by Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), brings communities together to help clean up and beautify the places that matter to them.

Darren Share, chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists for putting on such impressive displays this year while embracing sustainable horticulture.

“We enjoyed seeing the forward-thinking ways groups are working to make their planting more resilient to climate change and also contributing to carbon reduction in their communities.”