Category: News (page 1 of 2)

June Newsletter

26th June 2020

Another month,  I guess if someone had said at the beginning of March that we would still be in this situation at the end of June we would have questioned that fact.  However, we are here, and likely to be in this new way of living for some time to come and we will continue to make the best of it.

All of our summer planting for this year is now done and is brightening the town and lifting spirits.  Many residents have commented that it’s good to see a touch of ‘normality’ and all of those volunteers who have worked so hard under such difficult circumstances are to be praised and thanked.  We have been very careful to keep to the rules and stay socially distanced – and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Plants have been difficult to come by this year – and have been expensive – so some of our Krafty volunteers have set to and made a very different display at the Loom garden in Hedingham Road, near to the hospital.  Have you seen it?  It’s a sight to behold!  All of the flowers and ‘produce’ are made from recyclable materials – including the scarecrow. It is just amazing what can be done with a plastic bottle and some glue and paint.  Please go and have a look and I’m sure you will agree that this garden is a great credit to the team.  If you think that the scarecrow looks a bit sad it is because he doesn’t have a name.  Poor thing doesn’t like being called ‘it’ or ‘that thing’ so he/she really needs a proper identity.  Nicky has arranged a competition for children up to age 11 to ‘name that scarecrow’.  There will be prizes in various age groups; competition runs to 22nd July so don’t leave it too late to enter, see our Facebook page or posters for information.  There may be some other competitions coming up too – perhaps something for adults as well as young people – about using recyclable materials to make an item to show.   Make the most of the summer weather to get out and enjoy all that Halstead has to offer.

The spitfire installation is still at Weavers’ Court and will be left to celebrate VJ day later in the summer.  Joan’s handiwork is still a sight to behold so if you haven’t seen it do go and have a look.  It’s just a shame that the environment of Weavers’ Court and the Mill is getting more and more unloved and dilapidated – not a great credit to the Town.

And it’s great that we are celebrating our long established bakery business – Hume’s of Halstead – with a bed in Halstead Public Gardens.  Joan and Chris have made a ‘birthday cake’ to celebrate Hume’s 60 years of trading!  Well done Joan and Chris, and what an achievement for Hume’s;  local people running local businesses is surely the way forward.  Anne and Dennis Hume have helped Halstead in Bloom for many, many years and it’s fitting that they should now have a sponsor sign.  It’s affixed to the new ‘big flowerpot’ at Sainsbury’s – you will see it if you have to queue to enter.  We thank all the Hume’s team for their continued support.

It is good news that the cafe near Solar that has been untenanted for so long is soon to re-open under new management.  It will be called the Corner Cafe and Steve, the new Manager is keen to support Halstead in Bloom.  Very many visitors ask about the former Riverside/Blacksmith’s Cafe so I’m sure that this new venue will be appreciated.

Another piece of good news to pass on is that Oliver, who manages our Facebook page, has just graduated from Cranfield  and is now an Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA).  How proud are we!!  Very well done Oliver, Congratulations from us all.

We are looking forward to 2021, and we will be producing a Halstead calendar again.  We thought that it should be bright and colourful, so will depict the beautiful flower displays and the wonderful wild flower areas in and around the Town.  If you have any suitable photos please do send them to me as soon as possible.  I’ve had quotes from a local printer for production, and we hope to get the calendar to print by mid-August.  I’d particularly like photos of rainbows over Halstead, so cameras at the ready for the sunshine and shower forecasts.

We are also hoping to plant our usual winter displays for winter and spring delight. East Anglian Van Hire have offered us use of a tail-lift vehicle to collect plants from Colne Valley nurseries at end of October so let’s hope that there isn’t a second uncontrollable spike of this virus infection and that we can go ahead as normal.

We are hoping that we may be able to offer some plants for sale when we are selling calendars, so if you are lifting and dividing planting in your garden this autumn and would be willing to donate please think of potting some up for us to sell and do let us know.

We have applied to be a charity partner with the national Co-op (the one in Colchester Road).  We won’t know if we have been successful until a bit later, but we are very grateful for the support we have had from them in the past.

The team is keen to have a meeting to catch up with all news so we have planned for an open air team meeting on Thursday 9th July, 7.30pm at Weavers’ Court (if the weather is not conducive to an open air meeting we will cancel and make another date).  You must bring your own chair, or be prepared to sit on the grass, and you will need to keep 2metres from anyone sitting alongside you.  If there is a ‘second row’ you will need to be at least 1M from the person in front.  There won’t be any refreshments so please bring your own drink if you need to.  We will keep the meeting as short as possible, so if you have anything that you think needs to be reported please pass it to me in writing at the start of the meeting and I will process.  We need to discuss Halstead’s entries for the Anglia in Bloom competition, and arrange for any photos that we will need to submit.  We already have the Spitfire as our ‘display on a theme’ entry, and Mill Green as our wild flower submission.   BDC have given us permission to enter the Public Gardens as ‘best local authority’ planting – we will need some colourful photos.  We need to have an entry for hanging baskets, so if you know of a particularly beautiful basket please ask the gardener if that could represent the gardeners of Halstead.  The Loom garden will be our ‘display using recyclable material’ but there are other categories that I’m sure we can enter – ‘best innovative planted container’? ‘Best area of sustainable planting?  If you’d like the full list of categories, please let me know.

Well, hopefully I will soon be able to produce some ‘minutes of a meeting’, but I guess that’s a case of ‘watch this space.


Thank you for all your interest and help to make Halstead bloom.  In the midst of all this awful situation the community spirit of Halstead shines through.  We do care for each other and for the Town. Keep smiling!!   All the best, stay safe and stay well.
Photos to: or to our Facebook page: halsteadinbloom.
Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070
Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email




News Letter

                     1st May 2020

Today I should have been writing up minutes for last night’s Halstead in Bloom April meeting – but obviously the meeting didn’t happen.  As I am getting withdrawal symptoms for writing minutes I thought I’d send you an update of news from the last month.

First of all – sponsorship.  Our sponsor year runs from 1st June, so in March/April each current sponsor is written to and asked if they wish to continue for another year.  ;Those letters were sent out just as the lockdown began, so the future is very uncertain for many of our local businesses.  I have to say, however, that some have already come back to us to say that they appreciate what we are trying to do, and will want to continue with their support.  Dale Hairdresser’s, T & N Developments, Halstead Townswomen’s Guild, Halstead Flower Club, Halstead Royal British Legion Club and Dr David Hessayon all pledged to sponsor for 20/21 and Dr. Hessayon also gave us a donation.  Keith Thorogood of Halstead Road Runners was due to run the London Marathon for HiB this year and we had paid his entry fee.  Keith won’t be able to take part in the rescheduled 2020 marathon but has given us back the sponsor money paid plus ‘a bit more’ and we are very grateful for this effort.  We will continue to display all sponsor signs including a new sign for Hume’s Bakers – who are celebrating 60 years of serving Halstead and District in 2020.

We also appreciate our ‘sponsors in kind’ and this year Peter Robertson, has offered to deliver any plants that we are able to put in.  We are also grateful to Bellway Homes for fully restoring the seed drill that has stood for many years at Sudbury Road and was in a sorry state.  We will be planting up this feature and will add a sponsor sign for Bellway Homes.

More good news – we have received a first payment from the Co-op Society for charity dividend donations. This amounted to £447.25 and was paid on 9th April.

We have had some expenditure this year on renewal of containers; in the light of last summer’s hot, dry weeks we are trying to change all main containers into the water retaining type.  We have 2 new containers for outside the bookie’s near to Town Bridge, 1 ‘big flower pot’ type container to replace the small trough at Sainsbury’s, 4 large barrels to replace the tired containers planted by Brownies in the Churchyard,  2 half barrels to replace the old troughs planted by Rainbows outside the Church Hall. 5 new Cup and Saucer hanging baskets for the Resource Centre and 2 black Cup and Saucer hanging baskets will replace the two stolen at the end of the summer 2019.  We will also be replacing the broken trough at the Butler Road sign and the one at Ronald Road.  We have a new trough to replace the rusting metal trough on the wall at Dale Hire.  Jason has advised us that there are two troughs on the railings in High Street that have split (been hit by a vehicle, probably) so those have had to be replaced – they were originally purchased by Halstead Town Council but HiB will replace them.  You may have noticed that the tubs sponsored by Dr. Hessayon outside the Day Centre have been removed; they were of the fibreglass over wood material and were installed by Halstead Town Council.  It was agreed with the Groundsmen, Town Clerk and Halstead in Bloom that they should be replaced as soon as possible, and therefore HiB has purchased new barrel type containers for this location.  The dated containers near to the litter bin outside The Bull will be replaced.    We still want to renew the containers in Butler Road Car Park, but the factory from which these will be purchased are still on lockdown.
Graham has refurbished the cart from Bluebridge; this will be installed and Annie will repaint.

It will soon be time to remove the winter bedding; this will be done by individuals working as part of their daily permitted exercise.  Plants will be offered free of charge to anyone who cares to take them as is our normal custom.  We won’t expect any payment, but of course we are always grateful for donations – if you would like to have some of the plants please speak to one of the HiB team, or let me know and we can arrange for some to be left for you.  We do intend to plant up for the summer.  We won’t have our usual supply as those plants come from Holland and they were not imported.  Plants will come from Bourne Brook Nurseries, Greenstead Green and Clive Baker has offered to deliver them to us, probably in small batches so there will be no sorting necessary.  Planting will be done by individuals or couples and we will adhere to strict social distancing rules.  There will be no hanging baskets in the town this year, although there may be a few in locations not on the main street.  Watering and maintenance will be done by individuals as best as can be achieved. I am afraid that the usual weeding/cutting back, etc. won’t be done this year, although Jason and Tim have been spraying in some areas and we are grateful for their help.

Joan has transmogrified the plane into a Spitfire, and this will be installed at Weavers’ Court together will some artwork of a tank and a destroyer to celebrate 75 years anniversary of VE Day, 8th May.  Please go and have a look if you can pass this way as part of your daily walk.

We had planned a plant stall – and have been growing on plants to sell – for Saturday 16th May.  At this time we are waiting to see if there will be any lifting in restrictions that will allow us to have this stall, planned for 16th May but possibly may take place a week later if permitted.  The stall will be on Market Hill – so in the open air – and again we will be very careful to abide by all rules on social distancing, etc.

Our usual Local Garden Competition had to be cancelled, but we are asking for photos of gardens that we may be able to include in our 2021 calendar.  We’ve had one front garden already submitted, and please feel free to pass on the request for photos to anyone you know who will have a garden they’d like to share with us all.  We would be pleased to have any photos for the calendar of the Halstead area.

Anglia in Bloom judging and RHS Britain in Bloom campaign were cancelled for 2020, but Anglia in Bloom is holding a ‘virtual’ campaign asking for photos to be submitted in various categories.  Halstead does intend to enter some photos in some categories – we can’t let a year go by with no certificates and trophies!! Please see the Anglia in Bloom website for details, and let us know if you or anyone you know has something we can enter in Halstead’s name.

The RHS has cancelled all flower shows for 2020, but they are putting virtual tours on their web site so that we can feast our eyes on new plants and varieties that we will be able to purchase next year.

Well, I hope that you’ve found this news update of interest. Please feel free to send it on to anyone you think may be interested.  Please stay safe and stay well – keep calm and stay blooming!!      Julia
ContactsMargaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443;  Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail; Joan Gibson, plants and planting. 01787 473070        Facebook: halsteadinbloom.
join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road)   and note HiB as your preferred charity to donate via Co-op purchases.

Accounts 2019 ( Receipts/Payments)

HALSTEAD  IN  BLOOM                                              Receipts and Payments Statement
2018             Premium       Bank             Petty Cash              2019
Sponsors                 3625.00                             3225.00              150.00                     3375.00
Donations                4516.09                             2483.00             1009.51                   3492.51
Grants                     1500.00                                   0.00                   0.00                     0.00
Calendars                3764.25                                121.25             3109.60                   3230.85
Envelopes                                                                                      62.25                 62.25
Speaking Fees          230.00                                                           70.00                 70.00
Baskets                   3060.00                             3310.00                                       3310.00
Gift Aid                      700.25
Stalls/Plants               334.80                                                        544.40                        544.50
Raffles                      364.50                                                         464.00                        464.00
Quiz                          277.40                                                         508.00                        508.00
Christmas Cards       618.90                                  56.00              573.10                        629.10
Postcards                    11.50                                                          49.00                 49.00
Retail Donations      1630.99                             2569.74                                      2569.74
Sales Reimbursed   1428.00                                440.00                 90.00               530.00
Interest                         4.24           4.24                                                                      4.24
Various events        2650.30                                345.00               990.00                     1335.00
Misc. Sales                334.62                               147.00               789.45                        936.45      
TOTAL:                  25050.84           4.24          12696.99             8409.41                  21110.64
Anglia in Bloom       1170.00                                 930.00              540.00                       1470.00
Sponsorship/Grant        50.00                                 139.08                                         139.08
Stall fees                      41.00                                   15.00               11.00                  26.00
Calendars                1942.80                               1750.00              187.50                        1937.50
Plants                     11051.72                            10982.85              176.20                     11159.05
Compost                    563.20                                 382.46                                         382.46
Flower Festival           315.00
Prizes                        408.50                                                          550.43                         550.43
Cups Engraving            33.00                                                            55.00                  55.00
Postage/Stamps         146.33                                                          149.47                         149.47
Misc. Goods            2260.45
Van Hire (Insure)          44.00                                                           84.00                 84.00
Christmas Cards        408.00                                                           382.30                         382.30
Signs/Banners            336.00                                                           192.00                         192.00
Containers               3801.61                                                           139.99                        139.99
Meal Payment         2162.38                                                           50.00                 50.00
High Viz Vests            114.54
Gift. Colne V.Nurs        50.00
Support Clubs                                                       627.99                244.00               871.99
Sales Goods Bgt.                                                1651.90                445.98             2097.88
Miscellaneous             528.35                                                           833.76               833.76
TOTAL:                  25426.88                            16479.28                4041.63        20520.91
Surplus/Deficit        -376.04                                                                                      589.73


Accounts 2019 ( Balance sheet )

HALSTEAD  IN  BLOOM.              BALANCE  SHEET  2019


31.12.18                            31.12.19                               Variance

Current Assets

Barclays Community A./c   11827.77                           12138.48                               310.71
Petty Cash                             915.00                               308.13                               606.87
Barclays Premium A/c         2127.71                              2131.95                                 4.24


Net Current Assets            14870.48                           14578.56


Barclays Community A/c
Bank Statement at 31.12.19                                               12138.48
Receipts in Transit                                                                      0.00
Cheques no presented (cash)                                                882.00
BALANCE                               13020.48
Ledger balance at 31.12.19                                                13020.48  Reconciled

Petty Cash
Cash in Hand at 31.12.19                                                        308.13
Receipts in Transit                                                                        0.00
Payments not presented                                                               0.00
BALANCE                                   308.13
Ledger balance at 31.12.19                                                      308.12 Reconciled

Barclays Premium Account
Bank Statement at 31.12.19                                                  2131.95
Receipts in Transit                                                                        0.00
Payments not presented                                                               0.00
BALANCE                                  2131.95
Ledger balance at 31.12.19                                                    2131.95 Reconciled


   Total Balance at 31.12.19                                                 15460.56         


Accounts 2019 (Reconciliation)

Halstead in Bloom.   Year ended 31.12.2019


Bank Reconciliation:                                                                    

Balance as per cash book:                                                 £  13020.48
Chqs not presented:                                                           £          0.00
Receipts not at bank                            £       882.00
Balance as per bank statement:          £   12138.48            _________
£   13020.48            £  13020.48


Bank Account – Current:                                                          

Balance bt. fwd                               £    11827.77
Income                                             £    10213.99
Donations                                        £      2483.00
Grants                                             £             0.0
From Petty Cash                              £     4975.00
Expenditure                                                                           £  16479.28
Closing Balance                              £                                     £  13020.48
                                                        £    29499.76                   £  29499.76



Petty Cash                                                 £                                   £

Opening Balance                                     915.35
Income                                                  7399.90
Donations                                              1009.51
Expenditure                                                                                  4041.63
Tr. to Current Account                                                                 4975.00
Closing Balance                                                                         __308.13         
9324.76                           9324.76         


Premium Bank Account                       £                                           £

Balance as at 31.12.18                                                             2127.71
Interest Paid (01.01.19-31.12.19)      ______                                   4.24         
Closing Balance at 31.12.19             2131.95                            2131.95


CO-OP Donation

We are very grateful to the CO-OP store on Colchester Road, Halstead who have very generously made a donation of £1569.74 to HIB from their community fund, and thank them very much for their continued support.

Britain in Bloom 2020

We are proud to announce that Halstead in Bloom have been selected to represent  Anglia in Bloom in the 2020 Britain in Bloom competition.

The team and RHS judges have yet to ratify the proposal, but we are very hopeful, and look forward to bringing another Gold back to Halstead.

Gold in Britain in Bloom

On Friday 26th October The Halstead in Bloom committee attended the RHS Britain in Bloom award ceremony at Linley Hall, London SW1. Where we were awarded with a Gold in the Town Category. there was also a special award for the water conservation/irrigation system designed by Graham Smith.

A fantastic effort by the Halstead team.

Gold for Halstead

On Tuesday the 10th September approx 30 members of the team travelled to St. Ives in Cambridgeshire to attend the Anglia in Bloom award ceremony.

We are very pleased to report that we have been awarded a Gold in our category  and the best entry in the category.

Both the Town park and Priory Hall retirement complex were also awarded Gold.

In addition to the Gold awards, our plants woman Joan Gibson was presented with a special award for her commitment to both Halstead in Bloom and  Anglia in Bloom.

A fantastic achievement , and well done to everyone.

Congratulation to Gosfield who achieved a Gold in the Village category and Coggeshall who received a Silver Guilt, and congratulations to  Hunstanton who were the overall winning entry.

Britain in Bloom

Halstead in Bloom have been invited to enter the Britain in Bloom competition and represent the Anglia region in  the town category.

On Friday the 8th of February two members of the team attended the BIB seminar in Manchester, to meet the judges and discuss the details of the new marking system


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