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Meet the team!

Roger Tait - Heart of England in Bloom J

Chairman and Judge

Lesley Pritchard 

I have 25 years experience of working in the landscape design and construction, and parks and open spaces management sector. I have been participating in Bloom for the last 22 years and really love seeing the difference it makes to both the environment and the people who live in it. It’s a great privilege to meet so many fantastic Bloomers and visit their communities – we all learn so much from each other and reap the benefits of our combined efforts. I look forward to seeing you over the summer judging period – best of luck to all.

Roger Bache - Heart of England in Bloom

Vice Chair and Judge

Roger Bache

Roger has judged the Heart of England in Bloom campaign since 2005. In 2006 he also judged the national RHS Britain in Bloom competition. It was when he was managing an extensive landscape and grounds maintenance contract that he first became involved in Bloom as an entrant. He said he realised that the ethos of Bloom was literally his ‘job description’ at the time. Before becoming a judge he was instrumental in Coventry City Centre becoming involved in the Heart of England in Bloom campaign and successfully achieving Gold Awards and, in subsequent years, Gold and category winner at national level. 

Paul Stead - Heart of England in Bloom J

Judge & Committee Member

Paul Stead

Paul has over 40 years experience in Horticulture & Park's management and holds an R.H.S. Diploma, from Pershore College of Horticulture.

A qualified Horticultural Therapist, he now also teaches gardening to students with disabilities and develops community engagement. 

Donna Loasby - Heart of England in Bloom

Judge & Committee Member

Donna Loasby

Donna Loasby became the 'Britain in Bloom Coordinator' for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2010.  Her role is to raise awareness of the Bloom campaign and to create a network of support from businesses which she has done successfully and increased sponsorship year on year.  Her experience has encouraged the community, schools and businesses to participate in planting projects, environmental initiatives and local competitions to make Newcastle a better place to live, work and invest.  She was instrumental in introducing a new logo and brand strategy to further promote 'Newcastle in Bloom'.  She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Management from Staffordshire University and gained her RHS Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture from Reaseheath College, Cheshire.    Donna is a Committee Member and Judge for Heart of England in Bloom.

Beverley Sutton Judge Heart of England i


Beverley Sutton

Beverley Sutton has worked at Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council since 1991, initially assisting with the set up and implementation of the Council’s CCT grounds maintenance contracts.  She has been involved in the Britain in Bloom campaign since Newcastle under Lyme first entered in 1992.  In 2011 Beverley transferred to a new role as a Community Projects Co-ordinator and now deals with numerous new initiatives including planting projects, local competitions, allotment management and sponsorship.  Beverley attended Reaseheath College, Cheshire and successfully gained her RHS Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture.

Simon Long Judge Heart of England in Blo


Simon Long

Simon Long has worked at Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council since 1991, and for many years was involved in the council’s parks management, initially in the client division helping to manage CCT grounds maintenance contracts. In October 2011 he took on the role of Community Development Officer, following his return to work from a near fatal motorcycle accident.  Simon has been involved in the Britain in Bloom campaign since Newcastle under Lyme first entered in 1991 and has also helped with several successful green flag applications.  In addition Simon has been involved with the annual Tatton Park flower bed display, where Newcastle under Lyme have gained numerous accolades.

Carol Miller - Heart of England in Bloom


Carol Miller

Since retiring as a university academic, I have been involved in Britain in Bloom for over ten years, first as part of an Urban Community group.  For the past five years I have been  an Assessor of the It’s Your Neighbourhood scheme and more recently,  a Judge for the Heart of England in Bloom.  I am passionate about the power of Bloom to bring people together and improve their environment.

Stephen Merchant


Stephen Middlehurst

I have worked in the horticultural industry for the best part of 50 years covering all aspects of horticultural maintenance , landscaping domestic and commercial and working in both the private and local authority industries. 

I have worked for local authories since 1975 and these have included authorities in London, Staffordshire and Cheshire, managing parks, open spaces and cemeteries in many different roles and taking an active managerial role in Britain in Bloom since 1986 with 5 different authorities. 

I retired 3 years ago and joined the Heart of England in Bloom group when I retired although had been involved with the group for over 15 years with my last job. 

Mark Wiltshire - Heart of England in Blo
Mark Wiltshire

Regional Co-ordinator & Judge

Mark began his career in horticulture straight from school and achieved his City & Guilds qualification at Hartbury College in 1982. His passion for Bloom began back in 1984 when he helped Cheltenham in Bloom to achieve first place in the Britain in Bloom competition. He was a member of the local bloom committee for some 13 years and regularly helped judge the local in bloom competition. Mark joined the Heart of England in Bloom judging panel in 2007.

Tel: 07766 088075

Jennifer Wharton

Judge & Committee Member

I studied Horticulture and Garden Design at Myerscough College in 2001 while working at Barton Grange Garden Centre in Lancashire 96 - 2005. I moved to Warwickshire in 2005 working for Glendale Grounds Maintenance before taking a job opportunity with Cherwell District Council as a landscape officer, part of my role being 'Britain in Bloom coordinator' for Bicester and Kidlington, achieving high standards at local, regional and national level before joining the Thames and Chiltern judges in 2011. 

In 2014 I joined Heart of England in Bloom team which allow me to judge closer to home. 

In 2019 I started by own garden design, landscape and maintenance company. Helping people love their outdoor space. 

I love how Britain in Bloom brings people of all ages and abilities together, all on a mission to make where they live or work more attractive or environmentally friendly - fantastic social and environmental benefits!

As a Heart of England Judge its great to be able to give recognition of achievement to schools, businesses, individuals and groups for what they have achieved.  

Nicola Clarke - Heart of England in Bloo
Nicola Clarke

Judge & Committee Member

Nicola holds a BSc. (Hons) Degree in Horticulture from Writtle College, combined with practical skills learned at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens. She has experience as a Technical Director for a major horticultural supplier to the retail sector and spent over a decade working within the floriculture industry.


Currently working as the Midlands Horticultural Development Manager for id verde, her role involves engaging with local communities and liaising with many stakeholder groups in order to create exciting, safe and accessible parks and public open spaces that are attractive throughout the year. By developing horticultural projects with these groups, community involvement and a greater sense of ownership is encouraged and enhanced in parks a public open spaces.

Robin Russell - Heart of England in Bloo
Robin Russell

Judge & Committee Member

Robin began working for Stratford on Avon District Council on a temporary basis in 1980 and worked his way up to become a propagator before joining the grounds maintenance section for the housing department, which later became the local housing association. He is now a self-employed freelance gardener. At an early stage of his career he became involved with the local in bloom group, as a judge and the committee treasurer until leaving in 2005. He was one of the original judges on the newly formed committee in 2007.

Joe Hayden - Heart of England in Bloom J
Joe Hayden

Judge & Committee Member

Joe achieved his degree in 1988 at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in Environmental Science and commenced employment with Birmingham City Council in July 1988 as an Assistant Ranger. After several promotions he is currently the Park Services Manager. He has been involved with Birmingham's entries in the Bloom Campaigns since 2010 helping them to achieve numerous awards regionally, nationally, in Champion of Champions and in Entente Floral. Joe is also a Green Flag Judge  He has a wealth of experience and is passionate in supporting communities "In Bloom".

Gareth Manning Judge Heart of England in
Gareth K. Manning FCIHort MPGCA


Gareth is a professional horticulturist with over 35 years in the industry. His experiences range from commercial nursery production through landscaping to professional Gardening. Gareth served on the regional committee of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture for 13 years before becoming Vice President (Branches) in 2013. He is a member of the Professional Gardeners Guild and the Professional Garden Consultants Association. He also serves as Treasurer for the Shropshire branch of Plant Heritage. His involvement with the Bloom competition started in with London in Bloom in 2002 shortly followed with additional judging for South East in Bloom and Pre-judging for Entente Florale.

Gareth Manning Judge Heart of England in
David Tipping


David has 40 years experience of Commercial and Amenity Horticulture. He started his horticultural career as a Trainee gardener with the City of Birmingham Parks Department.

After successfully completing a 3 year Diploma course in Commercial Horticulture at Pershore College, he spent several years at Nursery stock Nurseries and Garden Centres.

David returned to Amenity Horticulture at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council where he became Parks and Open Spaces Manager. Whilst at Solihull David was the Horticultural lead in Solihull’s Britain in Bloom entries. Where Solihull achieved success at Regional, National and Entente Florale

Since taking early retirement from Solihull Council besides continuing with Britain in Bloom judging, David also volunteers as a Green Flag Award Judge and finds time to follow his hobby interests.

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