Putting the colour into Ryde seafront’s summer beds

Ryde seafront will once again be blooming this summer — thanks to the efforts of volunteer planters.

Determined coronavirus (Covid-19) would not sap the colour from the floral displays, a team of around 20 helpers rolled up their sleeves and set about planting up the summer beds.

With fewer seasonal staff available in time to support the planting, which is funded by Ryde Town Council, a call went out for green-fingered volunteers to get their hands dirty.

Councillor John Hobart, Cabinet member for heritage and the environment, said: “Knowing how important this feature is to the town, we asked for help from local community volunteers and staff on our redeployment list to spend some time on the project.

“The team were briefed on the strict social distancing and PPE rules.

“The project has proved to be a great success — with the planting successfully completed with helpers delighted and proud they could help.

“We would like to thank everyone who very kindly gave up their time.”

The volunteer effort was coordinated by Mike Fitt, a South and South East in Bloom judge and adviser to Wight In Bloom.

He said: “Since Victorian times Ryde seafront has been noted for its floral displays and with the help of neighbours, volunteers from Monkton Arts, council staff on redeployment and supported by grounds maintenance contractor John O’Conner, that horticultural tradition was maintained and Ryde Esplanade will be looking ‘blooming beautiful’ once again this year.

“A big thank you to everyone who answered the call to help out, despite the challenging times we are all going through.”

IW councillor for Ryde East and town mayor, Councillor Michael Lilley, also thanked the volunteers for their hard work.

He said: “It has been difficult for the community through Covid-19, so to see the colourful beds and the community spirit behind their creation brings needed sunshine and messages of hope in our lives.

“Thank you to all involved.”