Chorley in Bloom: Hundreds of volunteers are making a difference to the town including community garden

As part of our Chorley 150 series. Chorley in Bloom chairman Iris Smith explains how the group helps the town and why she loves it so much.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 4:17 pm
The aptly named Iris Smith is chair of Chorley in Bloom

Community spirit is alive and well in Chorley; it’s one of the themes cropping up time and again in this Chorley 150 series of stories to mark the Chorley Guardian’s 150th anniversary, writes Jon Townend.

Leading the charge armed with trowels and plant pots is Chorley in Bloom, formed seven years ago with the aim of giving the town a visual boost.

Its chairman, the aptly named Iris Smith, said: “We try to pick up all the little grey or neglected areas and do something with them.

Iris Smith with one of the displays under Chorley Police Station.

“It’s mostly flowers, but not always.”

One highlight has been the creation of a community garden close to B&Q in Chorley.

It’s planted with vegetables with the understanding that people are allowed to come and take what they need.

Iris said: “Maybe people just need enough for one meal, we just thought it would be a nice area for people to go.

Iris Smith from Chorley in Bloom

“If anything, we’d like to make the garden a little bit bigger.”

Iris explains there are plans in the pipeline, if a lottery grant is successful, for an allotment “where we hope to have an educational facility, grow food for the homeless etc”.

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Chorley in Bloom has hundreds of volunteers and works with local scouts, Chorley Gardening Society and Lancashire-based Galloway’s Society for the Blind.

The Mayflower planter at St Laurence’s Church marked the voyage of Myles Standish

Groups have helped out with projects such as the planting in St Thomas’s Square - perhaps the best known of the Chorley in Bloom installations in the town.

The Mayflower planter at St Laurence’s Church was created this summer to mark 400 years of the famous voyage carrying the Pilgrims to America, along with Chorley’s Myles Standish.

Civic pride and celebration come naturally to Chorley in Bloom, and particularly to its energetic chairman.

Explaining her involvement, Iris said: “I was the Mayor of Chorley in 2009/10.

The Chorley Guardian is featuring 150 stories about Chorley: Inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough.

“There was so much enthusiasm and I was asked just after that to become involved with Chorley in Bloom.

“I just love it.”

Chorley 150 countdown

This story is part of our Chorley 150 series to mark the 150th anniversary of the Chorley Guardian.

If you'd like to nominate someone, a business, charity or landmark, for the Chorley 150 series then email