Ted Smith (Chair & Judge)
My chosen career path in horticulture has primarily been through the amenity sector working in public parks and open spaces. I have a real commitment to the provision of public open space for communities and to the benefits that those communities can derive from them.
My working life started in Dartford, Kent when I joined the Parks Department there in 1973. In 1974 I went to Askham Bryan College and took their HND in Landscape and Horticultural Technology. The course included a work placement, which I undertook in Milton Keynes. When the opportunity came to return in the late 70's I did. The expansion and growth of the New Town gave me the opportunity to develop my career. Such that I finished that career as the Landscape Manager for Milton Keynes Council managing its open space assets.
My involvement with Bloom started when I was part of the team that entered Milton Keynes into Bloom and this would probably include my proudest moment when in my own right as Landscape Manager Milton Keynes secured a Gold medal.
As I approached retirement a move towards judging the Bloom seemed obvious. This not only gives me the opportunity to continue my involvement in horticulture but to give something back as well.
I live in Bedfordshire, am married to Gillian and have two grown up sons and three grandsons. As well as my garden, my hobbies include running and maintaining a number of older cars.
My favourite plant is possibly the Sorbus aucuparia (Mountain Ash / Rowan). A small tree that gives pleasure all year round. Flowers in the Spring, fruit in the Autumn together with glorious colour. Truly a plant for all seasons. My love for this plant goes all the way back to planting them in Milton Keynes in the mid 1970's.
Kate Dagnall (Treasurer & Judge)
Kate studied horticulture at the University of Bath (1982 – 1986), specialising in Amenity Horticulture. University placements were spent at Hilliers Nurseries, the Chicago Botanic Garden and with Cobham Resource Consultants. Kate also worked for a short time at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Botanic Garden in 1986.
Kate has over 20 years of experience across parks, open spaces and related areas such as allotments, nature reserves, environmental education and landscape sponsorship, gained while working for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. She now works for Finchampstead Parish Council.
Kate’s first involvement with Britain in Bloom was in 1987 when she joined the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. From 1988 to 1995 she worked with local towns and villages, encouraging and developing their entries to Thames and Chilterns in Bloom, and was involved with several national final entries. Kate has judged for Thames and Chilterns in since 1995, and has chaired the Judges panel since 2012. Kate is an active member and also the Treasurer of the Thames and Chilterns in Bloom Management Committee.
In 2015 Kate was selected to join the RHS UK Britain in Bloom Finals Judging Team.
Kate lives in Binfield, Berkshire with her husband and two dogs, and has a son at university. She has and continues to undertake voluntary work within the local community and wider areas, including with the local school and Scout Group, Pets as Therapy, and as a Green Flag Judge.
Sue Moffat (Bloom Co-ordinator)
I studied Horticulture at Reading University (1976-79) in the days when there were only 5 Universities in England that had a Faculty of Horticulture. Afterwards I specialised in Amenity Horticulture working in the Parks Department of several London Boroughs before becoming Parks Manager at the London Borough of Ealing in the mid – 1980’s where we did win London in Bloom on one occasion. After having twins who had an older brother I gave up work for a while to look after the family but did manage to fit in a few gardening jobs part time. On returning to work I became the Clerk to parish councils where parks, open spaces, allotments and cemeteries are an important aspect of this work. I recently became involved in Thames and Chilterns in Bloom thanks to my lovely husband, Allan Moffat (a Britain in Bloom judge), who volunteered my services! However I must say that the ethos of Britain in Bloom does have a profound affect in many communities to inspire us to improve the green spaces in which we live.
Norman Parker (Judge)
My career in horticulture started when I left school in 1966 working for Hertfordshire County Council. In that first year I enrolled at Oaklands, Hertfordshire College of Horticulture where I attended for four years gathering some of my qualifications.
Promotion saw me move to Bedfordshire County Council, St Albans and finally Milton Keynes Council.
I have much experience in most aspects of horticulture, parks, school grounds, trees and bedding plants and displays to name a few.
During my time at Milton Keynes Council I experienced Britain in Bloom for the first time, we had a proud record of being category winners and of course gold medallists.
My involvement with Britain in Bloom started in 2008 when I was asked to become a judge for the Thames & Chilterns region, apart from having a break in 2012 I have been a judge all this time. I have made many friends, my fellow judges have always been very supportive and the lovely volunteers who give up their time to support their entries across the region are very special people.
I am Dad to a lovely daughter Helen and Grand Dad to my gorgeous grand daughters Lucy and Poppy. Sadly I am a widower having lost my darling wife of 44 years in 2012.
I enjoy being retired and I now am working at living rather than living at work!
My hobbies include my local U3a, a school governor, walking, holidays and supporting those less fortunate than me.
Allan Moffat (Judge)
I am the fourth Generation of Golf Course Green Keepers, and as such my interests are still in good quality, well maintained turf.
Being involved in the commercial part of the industry for 15 years selling everything from fertilizer to large specialized machinery, gave me great insight into other aspects of our fantastic profession.
I got involved with the public sector 16 years ago as Recreation & Facilities Manager at Bracknell Town Council, This is were I got involved with Britain in Bloom campaign and been lucky enough to reach national finals three times, this has given me a view into what Britain in Bloom is all about. Since becoming a regional Judge, I love visiting other competitors and exchanging great ideas with like minded people with such a passion about Horticulture
Pete Thompson (Vice Chair & Judge)
I am currently Vice-Chairman of T&C in Bloom, a member of the Management Committee and previous Chairman; a Regional Judge for approximately 20 years, a reserve National Judge, and an IYN Assessor since the scheme started. I have been a member of the Reading in Bloom Committee for more than 25 years.
I became involved in the Bloom while working for Reading Borough Council as Parks Manager, heading up the town’s Britain in Bloom Regional entry including twice at the National Finals while performing a variety of professional roles including Waste Management and Recycling, Procurement, and Environmental Enforcement until retiring in 2011.
I love wild flower meadows for the intensity and variety of their appearance and the wildlife they support; single flowered Dahlias and tuberous Begonias for their season-long sumptuous flowers; Beech trees as they spread their first leaves because they look so fresh and herald spring; and Wisteria for the fabulous trailing scented flowers.
My favourite park, open space or nature reserve: Warburg Nature Reserve, near Henley
What I like best about the Bloom? It is great the way that the Bloom brings out the best in communities, I enjoy judging as it gives me the privilege and opportunity to see a wide variety of communities at their best, probably better even than most of the people who live there
My proudest ‘bloom’ moment? Launching the T&C in Bloom Association as a properly constituted, community-based organisation.
Judy Deveson (T&C Champion)
My background isn’t in horticulture, but history, though I’ve been a keen gardener from the age of seven.
I first became involved in Britain in Bloom soon after becoming a Town Councillor in Stony Stratford. When I declared that the town needed more flowers, the Town Clerk suggested that we could perhaps gain some guidance if we entered Britain in Bloom. Following an inspirational talk from a regional judge I was fired with enthusiasm and was lucky enough to find an amazing bunch of people who were equally passionate about improving the appearance of the town, and could join me in preparing the town to enter the BIB competition in 2008 Stony Stratford in Bloom was born..
Over the years, guided by BIB judges’ comments, the town was transformed, and in 2010 we were delighted when we won the Thames and Chilterns Small Town Trophy with Gold. We were also nominated as one of the 2 regional entries to represent Thames and Chilterns in the National Finals. The secret of this success, we knew, was that we’d drawn in the whole community.
On a personal level I was totally flabbergasted, and immensely honoured, in 2012 to be given the Thames and Chilterns Special Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Community. While I felt that there were others who probably deserved this award more than I, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I was also very touched in 2013 to be nominated as the Thames and Chilterns BIB Ambassador (now termed Champion) – with the role of spreading the word about what a huge and positive impact entering Britain in Bloom can have on any community. As a passionate enthusiast for Britain in Bloom, I was delighted to accept that role.
Ros Aitken (IYN Co-ordinator)
Ros is a farmer’s daughter and spent the first 18 years of her life growing up on her parent’s coastal farm in Norfolk. Her mother was a very keen gardener and horticulturist and that knowledge provided Ros with invaluable knowledge in future years.
From the early 80’s Ros and her husband embarked on some sizeable property developments which included ground up new builds and other substantial renovations which often involved ‘blank canvas’ landscaping. Ros has over an acre of landscaped gardens at her own home, and during the past 10 years, she has amassed a wealth of knowledge.
From 2008, Ros became a Town Councillor and took on the chairmanship of Amersham in Bloom heading up the team which were awarded GOLD for the first time in 2009 along with 3 additional regional awards. In subsequent years under Ros’s leadership, the lowest award given was a Silver Gilt. The Gold award in 2009 has acted as the cornerstone for Amersham and the foundations for Amersham’s continued success achieving GOLD again in 2014.
From 2007, Ros has headed up a team of volunteers at Woodrow High House, a charitable organisation to help inner city kids get a better understanding of the countryside, and, in the earlier years up to 2012, she was chairman of The Bucks Association for Gardening with Disabled People which also centred its activities at Woodrow.
Ros was asked to join the T&C In Bloom management committee in 2011 and became the It’s Your Neighbourhood coordinator in 2013 and, with her experience as a town councillor in terms of regenerating run down areas, it was a natural fit. The IYN campaign has continued to grow and there were no less than 30 entrants in 2014, doubling the number from the previous year. Ros is committed to the IYN campaign because it raises environmental awareness and can act as a stepping stone for small community groups to develop their interests towards a fuller participation into more comprehensive Bloom activities if they want to, either way, the feedback and the continued growth in the IYN sector has brought its own rewards.
Anne Kempson (Judge)
I first became interested in gardening when my grandmother encouraged me to work alongside her and started teaching me the names of the flowers, Anemone japonica was one of the first and sounded very important to a small child. This enjoyment of gardening continued into adult life.
In the 1960's I worked in the laboratories of the Soil Science Department at Levington Research Station (then Fison's Fertilisers Ltd) in Suffolk.
I studied for an HND in Landscape Design at Northampton University and with the RHS for their Master of Horticulture – RHS M.Hort:
I now maintain the gardens of a day centre and, with gardening colleagues, the Cowper and Newton Museum garden, all managed organically, in Olney. The museum garden is planted with plants available prior to 1800 that would have been grown by the poet Cowper, and is open to visitors to the museum and also under the National Gardens Scheme for a weekend in June each year.
Since my involvement with Britain in Bloom I have met volunteers whose dedication and enthusiasm for improving their neighbourhood is inspiring. It is good to see so many of the schools participating in the RHS's Campaign for School Gardening and the increase in smaller groups entering their community projects for It's Your Neighbourhood.
I live in Olney with my husband of nearly 55years and we have two daughters and one grandson.
Travelling is something I enjoy and have been fortunate to see some of the world's famous gardens and have visited some of the creative and beautiful gardens in this country. When time allows I like walking, reading, looking after the 100 plus Mediterranean plants in my conservatory and, of course, gardening – just don't look at my garden!
Derek Gibbons (Website & Social Media)
When I retired from my job as a driving instructor in 2013, I looked for some things to help fill my time. One of those things was getting involved in my local In Bloom group in Stony Stratford.
I quickly took on the role of producing posters for Stony Stratford in Bloom, and became a joint administrator on the groups Facebook page, (I'm also Admin. on another 8 Stony Stratford Facebook pages).
I’m by no means a gardener, but help out as often as I can with the twice weekly work parties, even if it’s only to make a photographic record of the work being done.
Soon after the Stony Stratford in Bloom chair Judy Deveson joined the Thames & Chilterns In Bloom committee, she suggested that I also joined to help with this website and the T&C Facebook page.
I've lived in Stony Stratford since getting married in 1976, and have been involved in many of the towns events over the years.
Some of my other interests include walking (I lead walks in & around Milton Keynes twice a month), photography, visiting interesting places with friends using my concessionary bus pass, listening to music - especially if it's live, and going to the cinema and theatre. I've also done 1000's of hours of DIY and improvements on our 1866 house.