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24.07.23 – Britain in Bloom in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue urges summer Responsibility

Written by on 23 July 2023

Newcastle is looking its finest for two rounds of Britain in Bloom judging.

Judging took place last Wednesday for this year’s regional round of the competition and – as the 2022 winner in the Heart of England region small city category – the town will be inspected again next week as a finalist in the 2023 national competition.

Judges toured the town, seeing set-piece displays, community projects and meeting some of the community groups and volunteers involved.

Queens Gardens has been planted with annual bedding on the theme of the 850th celebrations, and the entry also takes a sustainable approach by providing herbaceous and perennial planting on town centre roundabouts, including pollinators, and native tree planting as part of the Urban Tree Planting Strategy, including a Lyme Forest incorporating 850 lime trees.

The Borough has won Gold in the regional small city category for 20 years in a row, as well as taking a hat-trick of regional championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In recent years it’s also won the national ‘small city’ title and a gold award in the Champion of Champions round.


Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging communities to enjoy the summer responsibly as we approach the holiday period in Staffordshire.

Local communities will be taking to the outdoors to enjoy themselves in the coming weeks in what is typically a very busy time for fire services across the UK.

The Service wants to make sure people are aware of the risks which can lead to accidental incidents taking place so that everyone can enjoy this period as safely as possible.

In Staffordshire, we typically see a rise in wildfires in the summer and fires that spread quicker in the dry weather. Fire fighters want to remind people that there is a complete ban on the use of disposable or fixed barbeques and camp fires within the grounds of Cannock Chase and the Moorlands – due to the adverse risk of accidental fires happening in the area.

More people may also be looking to swim in open water in a bid to cool off as temperatures increase, which often leads to a spike in call-outs to water rescue teams in the fire service.

Prevent Delivery Lead Ben Sourbutts, said: “Wildfires and open water swimming are two of the most prominent causes of concern for us as we head into the busy summer period.

“We want people to enjoy the summer and spend time with their family and friends outdoors, but we need to make sure the public are aware of the risks which can lead to an increase in accidental incidents happening.

“Barbecues should never be used in the countryside and across popular beauty spots within the county. Fires caused by barbecues can easily spread to surrounding shrubbery and can quickly escalate into a dangerous and uncontainable wildfire.

“They should never be left unattended and should not be used when the person in-charge is consuming alcohol.”

“If you’re planning on having a barbecue, you should make sure it is well away from sheds, fences, trees and shrubs, it’s extinguished safely and it is lit using the appropriate fuels.

“People who are looking to swim in open water over the summer are also advised that lakes and reservoirs can be much colder than you think, even on the hottest days.

“If you jump into water, you can easily go into shock due to the change in temperature and can injure yourself if the water is shallower than you first thought.

“If you fall into water by accident, you should try to avoid the instinct to thrash around as much as possible. Try to lean back, extend your legs and arms and use slow, gentle movements to stay afloat.

“Once you have controlled your breathing, attempt to swim to safety and call for help.”

For specific information on how to reduce the risk of fires when using a BBQ, visit: BBQ safety (

For more information on how to stay safe whilst outdoors, visit: Safety outside (

To read more on water safety, visit: Water safety (