HORTICULTURE judges visited Halstead this week as the town’s In Bloom team looked to impress with their glorious flower displays and make it 11 wins in a row.

Representatives from Anglia in Bloom made their way around the colourfully-designed displays on Wednesday as the sweltering sun blazed down, admiring and critiquing the volunteer-led group’s year of hard work.

The Halstead In Bloom team is hoping the visit will result in the town winning gold for the best medium-sized town in the region for an unprecedented 11th consecutive year.

Meeting at the Bull Inn, the two judges were introduced to town council chairman and mayor Andrew Munday, as well as Halstead In Bloom chairman Margaret Eskins and secretary Julia Smith, who gave a brief speech about the history of the town.

Mrs Smith said: “It is okay when we are out there sweeping and weeding, but today is the nervous bit because everything has to come together on the day and today is so important.

“But I am excited to show the judges the town because it’s a great town.

“We have done our best – we always do our best and we can’t do anymore.”

The judges were first led along the River Colne and opposite the Causeway, where they marvelled at the decorated First World War fighter plane and show-stopping space rocket, which is surrounded by vibrant red and yellow flowers.

Inspired by both the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the evolution of air travel, the impressive exhibits were created by Julia’s husband Graham, who is responsible for the preservation of the award-winning displays and engineering work.

Mrs Eskins said: “We like to do something a bit wacky and we like to make it fun, so the people of Halstead have a smile on their faces when they see the displays.

“It is a shame the sun wasn’t shining on the displays in the Causeway because in the afternoon they look absolutely stunning.

“But everything is looking very good and the judges seem happy, which is of course what we want.”

As well as viewing the many floral hotspots and beautiful blossoms, some of which will also be in contention for individual accolades, the judges also popped in to see Halstead Public Gardens.

The relaxing green space, which is run by Braintree Council and chairman of the Friends of Halstead Public Gardens Jackie Pell, is being considered for best park.

Mrs Pell said: “We like to think we can get the best out of the park for everyone to enjoy, which is evident today and it is a park for everybody.

“I think it’s gone quite well and the judges have been impressed with a few things that we have been doing.

“Our park always looks lovely. Each year it is different, but it always improves and people think it’s just wonderful.”

“I wasn’t nervous about today because we know the product we have is good, but all you can do is your best.”

Halstead In Bloom works in close co-operation with Halstead Town Council, and the mayor has often praised the group for its contribution to the community.

Speaking ahead of the tour, Mr Munday highlighted the impact the team has on the wider community and said without them, the town would not look so attractive.

He said: “I support Halstead In Bloom and always will – it’s a fantastic benefit for our town and if we didn’t have them it would look very dull.

“From a town council perspective, we really do support the work that Halstead In Bloom do and we will always do so.

“It isn’t just about today though, it is about keeping our town looking beautiful all year round, and they do such a marvellous job.

“I just want to say thank you to all of the team.”

The winners of Anglia in Bloom will be revealed later this year.