FOLLOWING the recent success of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, tourism organisation Welcome to Yorkshire has struck gold again, this time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The tourism organisation learned it had been awarded the top accolade today with its canal and lock-themed garden created by designer Mark Gregory.

The garden, which celebrates the county’s canals and rich industrial heritage, is Welcome to Yorkshire’s 10th entry into the show – in the year which also marks its 10th anniversary.

Barnsley poet Ian McMillan, well known for his strong, distinctive Yorkshire voice, performed a brand-new bespoke poem on the garden written specially for the occasion to help bring to life the beauty of the county’s waterways and green spaces.

He was joined at the garden by Yorkshire paddle boarder Jo Moseley who took to the water on her SUP (stand up paddle board) to highlight the leisure and tourism aspects of our canals and waterways and the many fun activities people can now take part in which benefit both mental and physical health.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “Mark’s been incredibly ambitious this year – but it’s worked – this garden has the real wow factor! His bold plan to source and adapt genuine canal lock gates combined with his incredible attention to detail has proved a great combination. The garden beautifully brings to life not only Yorkshire’s proud industrial heritage but celebrates the brilliant way our canals and waterways are used today for leisure, tourism, health and well-being.

“This is the greatest horticulture event in the world and such a fantastic opportunity to showcase Yorkshire to a global as well as a national audience. This authentic taster Mark has created will be sure to inspire people to visit and explore the county’s stunning green spaces for themselves.”

The show stopping feature of the garden, which wowed the crowds as well as the judges, is a canal with two genuine lock gates which have been donated by the Canal & River Trust and which had specially adapted them for the garden to make sure the garden’s designer, Mark Gregory’s, creation was as authentic as possible.

Mr Gregory said: “This is my 99th garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and I was determined to make it one to remember. Bringing a canal to the heart of SW3 has been no mean feat and myself and the team have really pulled out all the stops.

Sean McGinley, director of Yorkshire & NE for Canal & River Trust added: “Mark and his team have created a stunning garden for Welcome to Yorkshire. As the charity that looks after the nation’s waterways, we’re thrilled to have helped realise the garden and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices and team to be part of.

“We believe life’s better by water and are passionate about encouraging people to enjoy spending time exploring our 2,000 miles of waterways. Hopefully this slice of Yorkshire will encourage people to visit the region and spend time by the canals and rivers that we know can help improve our health, wellbeing and happiness.”

Last year the organisation won gold at the show with a bothy and cottage garden, also created by Mr Gregory.