The Garden and Community Awards Evening 2023

The 2nd Annual Newbiggin Garden and Community Awards was a resounding success, bringing together the energetic and passionate residents of Newbiggin. The event, organized by the Newbiggin Town Council, was an unforgettable experience that celebrated the achievements of our amazing residents and provided a platform for community engagement.
The event was well-attended, with residents turning out in large numbers to support and participate in the awards. It was heartwarming to see so many familiar faces and witness the genuine enthusiasm and community spirit that defines Newbiggin. The atmosphere was electric, filled with excitement and anticipation.
The combination of great food, vibrant atmosphere, and the recognition of outstanding achievements made for a truly memorable event.
 Newbiggin Town Council would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended, supported, judged, and organized this event. Your contributions were invaluable and helped make this event a great success. We deeply appreciate your commitment to our community and your efforts to make Newbiggin a better place to live.
If you missed the event, don’t worry. You can still experience the excitement and celebrations by viewing the photos on our YouTube channel. The pictures perfectly capture the essence of the event – the joy, the camaraderie, and the spirit of Newbiggin. Visit our YouTube Channel to see more photos from the evening
Presenting the Awards that evening was Vice Chair, Cllr Fiona Rowley. The Good Garden Award was judged by Planeteria Manager at Wansbeck Garden Centre. The public voted for The Secret Garden Award and Community Planting Award. Nominations were received for outstanding achievement in Sport, Art & Culture and Community. All winners received a trophy, certificate and gift card.
The Honorary Freedom of the Town Award
To start the evening Newbiggin Town Council presented The Honorary Freedom of the Town Award. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed to an individual by Newbiggin Town Council.

The award is a great honor and is typically reserved for individuals who have made a lasting impact on the community through their service, leadership, and dedication. It is a recognition of the hard work and commitment that these individuals have shown and is a testament to the important role that they have played in the life of the town or city.

The commitment and dedication of Madena Hedley, Scouts leader to the 3rd Newbiggin Scouts for over 54 years is truly remarkable. With a passion for engaging and supporting young people in their personal development journey, she has empowered them to make a positive contribution to society. Over the course of her continued tenure, she has helped countless young people gain many skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

What’s even more impressive is that she has been involved in at least three generations, watching young people grow into adults and then seeing their children follow in their footsteps. Her impact on the community is immeasurable, and her dedication to the Scouts is a true inspiration to all. It’s leaders like Madena who make a significant difference in the world, and we should all strive to follow in her footsteps.

The Good Garden Award

Photos from those gardens that entered for this award were shown on the screen in the background when residents arrived.

As you may remember Newbiggin Town Councillors went out to wards to look at gardens that could be clearly seen to the passing public. Then those that were selected, Planeteria Manager, at Wansbeck Garden Centre judged the gardens looking at strict criteria, most appropriate positioning of displays, overall design, plant selection and any integration of seasonal displays with other permanent planting. The guest judge also assessed the maintenance of hard landscape features and evaluated the approach to sustainability in cultivation methods.

Winner of North Ward – Pam Jones (pictured above)

Runner up of North Ward – Matthew Stewart (pictured above)

Winner of East Ward – Billy and Sandra Brown (pictured above)

Joint Runners up of East Ward – Kay and John Dunn (right),  Chris Llyod (left)

Winner of South Ward – Jonathan and Ellen Murray Pym

Runner up of South Ward – Sylvia Priestley

Winner of West Ward – Fern Cape (pictured above)


Runner up of West Ward – Kevin and Barbara Carlyle 

The Secret Garden Award

These are the hidden gems the public cannot see. Residents were asked to enter their garden or nominate. These gardens cannot be seen by passersby. To view these gardens, you would have to enter the property. There were some magnificent displays. Residents in Newbiggin were given the opportunity to vote for this award.

The Winner of The Secret Garden Award is Shelia Harrison (pictured above)

The Community Planting Award

This could be an adopted space or a community planting. Residents could nominate others or themselves. We had 2 entries this year and both have done marvelously well.

The Winner of The Community Planting Award is Angie Main and Team for Front Street (pictured above)

The Allotment Award

This was judged by Newbiggin Allotment Holders Society. 

The Winner of Woodhorn Site is Jim Kirk (pictured above)

The Winner of Spital Site is Thomas and Pauline Oliver


An awards presentation is an excellent way to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of those individuals who have excelled in art and culture, sports, and community service. It is a chance to recognize their hard work and dedication and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

In the field of art and culture, there are many individuals who have made significant contributions to society. From musicians and painters to actors and writers, their work has enriched our lives and opened our minds to new possibilities. By recognizing their talents and achievements, we can encourage others to pursue their own creative passions and continue to nurture the arts in our communities.

Similarly, in the world of sports, there are many talented athletes who have achieved great success through their hard work, determination, and skill. These individuals inspire us to push ourselves to our limits and strive for excellence in everything we do.

Finally, there are those members of our community who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others. From volunteers and activists to educators and public servants, these individuals embody the spirit of service and selflessness that makes our community strong and vibrant.

In conclusion, Newbiggin Town Council wish to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of those who have made a positive impact in the fields of art and culture, sports, and community service. By recognizing their contributions, we can inspire others to follow in their footsteps and continue to make a difference in the world around us.

The Sport Champion Award for Outstanding Achievement 

A local boxer, has been recognized for his outstanding performance in the sport. He started boxing at the young age of 12 and has been dedicated to the sport ever since, now 23 years old.

Owen Rees has won numerous titles and accolades. He has traveled to various countries including Finland, Holland, Germany, Spain and Slovakia, and has emerged victorious in many competitions. His talent was also recognized by Team GB trials, where he was selected to join the training program.

Despite receiving offers to turn professional, his ultimate goal is to represent his country at the highest level. He was selected for the Olympic games, but unfortunately, his category was removed. He also had the honor of being selected for the Commonwealth games, but unfortunately had to withdraw due to an injury.

Overall, Owen Rees’s passion and dedication to boxing has led to numerous achievements. He is a true inspiration to aspiring boxers and a pride to his community.


The Art & Culture Award for Outstanding Achievement 

It is always heartening to hear about artists and musicians making a positive impact in their communities. In this case, we are pleased to inform you that a musician has won an Art & Culture Award for his efforts with Newbiggin Jayess Brass Band.

This musician has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the arts and to community engagement through his work with the brass band. The Newbiggin Jayess Brass Band has been a fixture in the community for many years, bringing people together through music and providing opportunities for individuals to develop their talents and skills.

This award is a well-deserved recognition of their dedication and hard work and serves as an inspiration to others to contribute to their own communities through the arts. Congratulations to Tony Griffiths and to the Newbiggin Jayess Brass Band on this achievement!

The Community Champion Award (x3)

These two extraordinary women are a remarkable pair of volunteers who have and continue to dedicate their time and energy to fundraising for the Newbiggin RNLI. Their hard work and commitment have earned them the well-deserved recognition of the Community Champion Award.

Their passion for the RNLI’s mission to save lives at sea has inspired them to organize a variety of fundraising activities to support the organization’s vital work. Through their efforts, they have helped raise well over £200,000 to fund essential equipment and training for the brave volunteers who risk their lives to save others.

Their selfless dedication to the RNLI is truly commendable. They have made a significant difference in their community by promoting the importance of water safety and supporting the invaluable work of the RNLI. Anne Main and Maria Scott’s tireless efforts serve as an inspiration to us all, and we are grateful for their unwavering commitment to this vital cause.


This next award goes to a man whose dedication and hard work towards the community garden and voluntary work across Newbiggin By The Sea has been recognized with a well-deserved Community Champion Award. His contribution to our community has been nothing short of outstanding, and his recent involvement with the community garden owes much of its success to his tireless efforts. He has generously given his time and shared his knowledge, making the community garden a vibrant and thriving space that brings people together.

His passion for gardening has been a driving force behind the success of the community garden. He has shared his expertise and knowledge. His efforts have helped to create a space where people can come together to learn, share ideas, and appreciate the beauty of nature.

The community garden will become a hub of activity thanks to him, Alison Horne and John Brown’s dedication. His hard work and commitment have transformed the garden into a place that is not only beautiful but also sustainable. Alan Keilty’s contribution to the community garden is a testament to the power of community spirit and the positive impact that one person can have on their community through voluntary work.

We’re already looking forward to the next Newbiggin Garden and Community Awards. We can’t wait to celebrate the achievements and contributions of our residents once again.

See you next year!

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