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Circus Show Just the Ticket for Judges (Including Video)

An internationally acclaimed magician and illusionist showed off his circus skills during judging days in two horticultural competitions.

Andrew Van Buren, who is from Silverdale, performed plate spinning and encouraged people to get involved in Queen’s Gardens, Newcastle, as regional and national Britain in Bloom judges completed their tours on 25 and 31 July.

The borough is competing in the small city category of Heart of England in Bloom and is representing the region in the illustrious “Champion of Champions” section of the national UK finals.

Circus is one of the main themes of gardening activities, events and projects to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the creation of the modern circus by Newcastle-born Philip Astley.  

The Council is also leading on improving wildlife habitats as part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s “Greening Grey Britain for Wildlife” theme.

The tours featured visits to Brampton Park, Grosvenor Gardens, Queen Elizabeth Park and the Lyme Valley Parkway, in Newcastle; Bradwell Crematorium, Keele Cemetery, Silverdale Country Park and Knutton’s peace garden and the Wammy.

The colours of flowers used in Queen’s Gardens resemble a circus big top and there is a floral clown display in the nearby Grosvenor Gardens.

Cllr. Mark Holland, Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “This is the most important year in our long and distinguished association with Britain in Bloom. As well as defending our regional title, we’re competing in the national “Champion of Champions” for the first time ever. It’s an absolute honour as only candidates with a proven track record of recent achievement are asked to take part.

“Residents of all ages have got involved in special projects which are designed to make the borough shine. They have worked really hard and as a result we had some fantastic things to show the judges. Andrew Van Buren, who has entertained audiences all over the world, brought something extra special to the table which is very fitting during Philip Astley’s milestone anniversary.

“Local businesses have really got behind our campaign by sponsoring our activities which shows they appreciate and benefit from an attractive environment. Everyone was really excited to meet the judges; they have done us proud.”

The outcome of the regional competition will be announced on 20 September while the national results will be revealed on 19 October.

Pictured above, left to right, are national Britain in Bloom judges Jim Goodwin and Jon Wheatley as they finished their action-packed "Champion of Champions" tour of the borough in Queen's Gardens, Newcastle, on Tuesday, 31 July.

The video below captures Jim and Jon's visit.

Last updated 1 August 2018