Judges for the prestigious Yorkshire in Bloom Awards have announced York Racecourse as a two time winner; the track scooped a highly prized Gold Rose Award for its many floral displays whilst Head Gardener, Ian Halstead, gets his name engraved on the prestigious Sawley Arms Trophy as the individual who has done the most to promote Yorkshire in Bloom.
In a glowing report, the judges in the visitor attraction category said "It was a real delight to visit York Racecourse and be shown around the floral extravaganza by two enthusiastic members of staff, Ian Halstead and Adrian Kay (Head Groundsman).
The floral displays are magnificent and spread on every available balcony and surface, a real credit to Ian's hard work and experience for many years. It was excellent to hear how much thought goes into looking after the local environment and conserving the natural resources. An outstanding entry."
Ian Halstead is the longest serving member of staff having joined the racecourse as a teenager in 1966 and is soon to reach his 65th birthday. He is married to York's Head Cleaner Deborah and grows all the flowers on display at York from seed or seedling at the Racecourse's nursery at Middlethorpe.
Speaking about the coveted award, Ian said "I am absolutely flabbergasted and chuffed to bits. We always try to make York Racecourse as colourful and attractive as possible and are always trying to find new areas to add displays and flowers. However for our efforts to be recognised by such eminent judges who share our passion for flowers is a real honour."
Adrian Kay, Head Groundsman said, "Ian is a legend. Ian has been doing a great job in making the course look beautiful for racegoers for over forty years yet to win both the Gold Rose Award and this special recognition award, the Sawley Arms Trophy, after all this time shows that he is still challenging himself to reach even greater heights, it is a fantastic tribute to his hard work and dedication.
The rest of the team including Paul Harris who assists Ian can rightly take a shared pride in the positive comments of the judges".
The window boxes, flowerbeds and recently improved lawns so much admired by Yorkshire in Bloom can be seen for a final time this season on Friday October 7th and Saturday October 8th.