Chelsea Flower Show success ‘opens doors’ for Chorley

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Council bosses hope the success of their garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be a boost to the borough.

Chorley Council’s first ever exhibit, named The Evaders Garden, won a silver-gilt medal - the second highest accolade available - in the artisan section of the prestigious show.

Members of the royal family were among those who visited the garden and millions saw it live on national television.

It is hoped the success will attract investment and visitors to the borough, and council leader Coun Alistair Bradley went to London last week to speak to businesses.

He said: “We’ve got great ambition for Chorley and if we want to get where we want to be we need to put ourselves in the limelight and shout about what we’ve got to offer.

“The reaction to the garden has been fantastic, but just as important is the fact that this has put us in front of some of the most influential people in the country.

“Exhibiting at Chelsea has opened the door to many high-profile businesses, which have been keen to hear more about Chorley and what is on offer in our borough.”

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council

“Exhibiting at Chelsea has opened the door to many high-profile businesses, which have been keen to hear more about Chorley and what is on offer in our borough.”

The council has invested £135,000 in “floral-themed projects”. These include the Chelsea exhibit and moving it to Astley Park to become a permanent feature, the first Chorley Flower Show, which is being held on August 1 and 2, and work on floral displays for the In Bloom competition.

Coun Bradley said: “If we are going to make Chorley one of the most progressive areas in the North West we need to invest in things that are going to make people sit up and take notice of Chorley.

“We have put a lot of investment into this year’s budget and we will be generating income on the back of this through sponsorship and ticket sales from the new flower show.”

But Coun Mark Perks, leader of Chorley’s Conservatives, said: “My personal view is that local authorities shouldn’t be involved, but by sponsoring and now offering to do their own Chorley Flower Show, which I’m not in favour of, it’s coming at a cost.”

The garden was designed by John Everiss and tells the story of his grandfather Stan Everiss, an RAF navigator during the Second World War, who was injured when his plane came down in France.

But a French family helped Stan to hide and he eventually made it home to England.

The garden features a sculpture of a young flyer, hiding against the wall of a war-ravaged church, as well as a stained-glass window and more than 800 plants.

John, of Somerset Avenue, Chorley, said: “It’s been received incredibly well and the comments from the public have been unbelievable.”