HEREFORD completed a hat trick of Gold awards when the 2015 Heart of England in Bloom competition results were announced last week.

The judges praised the work of the Hereford in Bloom volunteers in overcoming Herefordshire Council’s budget cuts by buying the flowers themselves.

The group, with the support of the city council and lots of volunteers, had helped restore civic pride and was a "champion of people power", the judges added at the ceremony in Rugby.

A special mention was given for the floral displays around the city which "had turned the streets from dull grey to bright green" and given "a warm and friendly welcome to visitors".

Trevor Swindells, chairman of the Bloom team, said: “We faced more problems than ever this year so achieving Gold yet again was a magnificent achievement, and a great tribute to all those community action groups taking responsibility for the environment in their neighbourhoods.

"Now we must all start planning for an even bigger effort next year.”