Gardeners responsible for south Swindon’s parks have won two awards at the Britain in Bloom competition on their first attempt.

The hard work done by the teams blossomed into a silver pennant and a trophy.

Judges at the awards ceremony were impressed by the Old Town Gardens and efforts at GWR Park and the south side of Shaftsbury Lake also drew praise.

Parish council chairman Chris Watts said: “After a guided tour of the parish, we had a feeling that the judges were impressed with the achievements.

"But they gave nothing away until after we received the award.

“We were delighted to be recognised for our hard work with a silver pennant.

"Our aim is to achieve a gold pennant in three years, and this has put us ahead of the curve.

He added: “I would like to thank all the volunteers, parish staff, councillors and particularly our gardeners who pulled put all the stops to achieve this result.”

John Wheatley, chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society’s South West in Bloom committee described the first time success as an amazing achievement.

Town Gardens came away from the ceremony in Newquay with one of the night's top prizes, the City of Bath trophy.

Aaron Hedges, who is head gardener at the park said: “First year in it and we won the silver pennant, and we’re well chuffed with it.

“The Town Gardens won it for us, the fact that it’s Victorian and the work we do as a team really helped.

“The parish are investing money and it’s a lot better for us.

“Looking forwards we want to better ourselves and get gold.

"We want to look at what was in the Victorian times, add in those kinds of flowers and shrubs.”

The entry to the competition this year was something that the team didn’t think too much about.

“We entered just to see where we were with it and we surprised ourselves to be honest,” he told the Adver.

Coun Watts added: “By going into an award like this you get fantastic ideas from other towns.

“Because we’re quite a new parish, it was important for us to look at a new direction for the parks and for the whole of the area.

“We’ve got some fantastic ideas, we got great advice from the judges and we’re looking at acting on that advice over the next few years. It’s been invaluable to us.”

Work by Old Town Residents Association at Pipers Roundabout, the Station Approach garden and the Mr Cod flowerbed on Victoria Road was given recognition in the In Your Neighbourhood section of the awards.

All three sites were given a level 4 award, meaning they were thriving.

Linda Kasmaty, co-ordinator of the association, said: “Last year we received a level 3 award for all the projects we look after and will aim to achieve level five outstanding awards for 2020.

“We have been given pointers by the judges for next year and cannot wait to get started.

"Watch this space for exciting new developments.”

Fellow volunteer Neil Hopkins added: “Thanks to the many volunteers who helped these projects get started and continue to help improve them.

"It was an inspiration to see all the fantastic entries and we are bursting with ideas.”