ST Martin’s School has claimed victory in the Bournemouth in Bloom Schools Competition 2024, honouring the 200th anniversary of the RNLI.

The competition encourages schools throughout the BCP area to participate in the annual gardening competition.

This year marks a special occasion as it honours two centuries of tireless effort by the RNLI.

Schools from across the region, ranging from preschools to secondary schools, participated in the event.

They presented an assortment of vivid RNLI-themed presentations including floral arrangements in pots and boats, small gardens, and raised beds.

Bagging the top position was St Martin’s School, an independent school in Stokewood Road.

Pupils, parents, grandparents, and staff working on the gardenPupils, parents, grandparents, and staff working on the garden (Image: St Martin's School)

Celebrating its own substantial 110th anniversary this year, the school came up with a winning entry based on sketches drawn by students which was brought to life by a combined effort of students, parents, grandparents, and staff.

Kerri Male, headteacher at St Martin’s School, said: "This wonderful competition sparks creativity, learning, and a love of gardening and the natural world in our children and young people.

"We were so happy to take part and absolutely thrilled to be awarded first place. I am so proud of them all."

The St Martin’s garden, embodying the themes rescue, the beach, and fundraising, features a small water feature, a bee house modelled as a lifeguard station, yellow wellies used as planters, and blue and yellow plants symbolising the sea and beach.

Part of the finished gardenPart of the finished garden (Image: St Martin's School)

Second place went to Kinson Academy and Winchelsea School, while Cats’ Whiskers Nursery and Winton Primary School shared third place.

Anne Fisher, Bournemouth in Bloom Schools’ coordinator, who judged the entries alongside a fellow committee member, said: "It has been a great privilege to meet so many happy, keen young people.

"A huge well done to all the children, parents and teachers at St Martin’s for a fantastic garden."

The Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor George Farquhar, presented the awards at a grand event at the Civic Centre.

St Martin’s was given a shield which will be engraved with the school name, a commemorative plaque, and a £35 voucher for Cherry Tree Nursery.