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Tony award! Notts Road dad is a blooming hero

AN Ilkeston dad whose grown-up kids live in terraces either side of him has scooped a coveted Erewash in Bloom award after turning the fronts of all three homes into a riot of summer colour that was featured on telly.

Widower Tony Christon was the talk of the town when a BBC news crew showcased his floral handiwork – which had left passers-by on busy Nottingham Road agog.

He was interviewed on East Midlands Today but refused to reveal the recipe he uses to feed his flowers, insisting: “It’s a secret.”

Retired Tony, whose son lives on one side while his daughter has the other house,   won a Special Award for Impact on Street scene at Erewash Borough Council’s annual ceremony attended by Mayor Councillor Frank Phillips.

He also picked up gongs in other categories – including second prize for Best Hanging Baskets & Planters and joint third prize for Best Front Garden.

Another winner was this month ALSO featured on TV. All Saints Church in Kirk Hallam won joint second prize in the Business, Commercial and Places of Worship category. Its graveyard was the focus of a BBC news item.

The Erewash in Bloom Awards were held at Morley Hayes, which itself won first prize in the Pubs, Restaurants & Hotels category. Ilkeston’s Spanish Bar scooped a Special Award for Impact on the Town Centre.

Other winners included Gloria Jackson of Boatmans Close in Ilkeston for Best Front Garden and Long Eaton’s Mark and Jill Prentice for Best Wildlife/Environment Garden. They live in Harrington Street.

Chaucer Junior School in Ilkeston bagged two awards – Best School Garden and Tallest Sunflower. Best Allotment Site was the one on Elm Street in Borrowash. The Borrowash in Bloom and Ockbrook in Bloom initiatives jointly won top prize for Best Community Area.

The Best Business award was shared by Ashfield House Veterinary Hospital and Brooklands Court, both in Long Eaton.

Erewash in Bloom is one of the biggest gardening competitions in the East Midlands – and this year attracted a record 180 entries in 12 categories. Residents bagged cash prizes ranging up to £100.

Councillor Joel Bryan, who is Erewash’s Lead Member for Environment, said:

      “Congratulations to Tony and all our winners. The aim of Erewash in Bloom is to encourage people to take ownership of their surroundings and make a real difference. The record number of entries this year is something the entire borough can be proud of.”

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