USK in Bloom – the group responsible for the town’s famous floral displays – has built on years of success on the Welsh and UK stages by winning a top international award awarded by Canadian organisation Communities in Bloom.

The Usk group’s chairman, Tony Kear, travelled to the awards ceremony in Canada with Usk Open Gardens’ chairwoman Janet Munday.

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“It has been a truly amazing experience," Mr Kear said. "To see the hard work by so many to help achieve this result is just reward.

"Having the opportunity to promote Usk, Monmouthshire and Wales in front of an international audience has been a privilege.

"With UK national coverage via the BBC “Blooming Marvellous” programme which saw over 1 million viewers, we have truly demonstrated how outstanding floral displays and volunteering working as a team can positively promote Usk all summer and for the longer term all for the benefit of the Usk economy. It is vital we build on this success."

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The tough competition for Usk came from the communities of Birdhill, Ireland; Fogo, Canada; Tirharny, Hungary; and Pomeretto, Italy.

In the ceremony held at an Edmonton theatre, Usk was announced winner of the international competition by the narrowest of margins – 1000 marks were up for grabs and Usk had totted up an amazing 882.

In accepting that award, Tony Kear paid tribute to the remarkable community efforts that and dedication of the project's volunteers, not only for the current displays but for the work on past editions, too.

"The 2018 achievements have, of course, been 38 years in the making and we readily acknowledge that our Bloom predecessors gave us the solid building blocks upon which to achieve this success – we share this award with them and don’t underestimate what they began back in 1981," he said.

"On behalf of all who took part this summer, I would like to extend thanks and gratitude for such warm and heartfelt congratulatory messages we have received."

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The competition's judges, Berta Briggs and Karin Rindal, paid tribute to the Open Garden weekend this summer, which attracted more than 2,000 visitors and raised £19,500 for local causes.

They said: "This South Wales town has earned the distinction of being the Town of Flowers and the highlight of the year is Garden Days, a two-day celebration of community and beauty.

"They welcome 2500 visitors to see 22 spectacular home gardens and to enjoy the 85 tubs and flowerbeds created by the Bloom volunteers.

"This is a great fundraiser as well as being a cornerstone of flower tourism throughout the summer. A dedicated crew of volunteers work year round with Usk in Bloom to truly make Usk The Town of Flowers."