Bill takes helm for beauty bid

KILSYTH has so much going for it, this can really put us on the map and get more people coming to visit the town.”

Bill Craic, the new co-ordinator of Kilsyth’s bid for the Beautiful Scotland competition, is in no doubt about the positive impact of a successful performance.

The town’s first entry, in 2009, under the stewardship of Fiona Murdoch, caused waves when a silver gilt medal and the best newcomer gong were awarded.

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The following year, a silver medal was achieved, as the judging criteria began to change.

No longer are areas assessed solely on cleanliness and aesthetic beauty, there are now three main themes: horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.

Having been recruited by Kilsyth Community Council to take up the role at the end of March this year, Bill took the difficult decision not to enter the town for the 2011 campaign.

He explained: “I discussed it with John Whittaker (grounds maintenance manager for North Lanarkshire Council) and we decided that it would have been too rushed to do something meaningful for Kilsyth since the judging was in August.

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“That has allowed us to take more time to build up for the 2012 campaign and plan well in advance for the changes that have been made to the judging.”

Bill decided to change the name of the town’s bid from Kilsyth in Bloom to Beautiful Kilsyth, to make it more synonymous with the national competition.

A gardener by trade, it seems the 62-year-old Arden Grove resident was tailor-made to take on the mantle of co-ordinator.

“My remit will be to encourage community groups and organisations to get involved,” said Bill. “Our main area of focus for next year will be on Main Street. There’s been a lot of improvements there but there’s still a way to go. We’ll also focus on other areas around the town centre, like King Street and Market Square, as well as the main roads in and out of the town.”

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As 2012 approaches, Bill intends to begin the process of putting together an action group for the campaign.

“A lot of consideration is given to the community involvement aspect,” he adds.“We’ve got so much going for us here with the scenery and things like Colzium and Dumbreck Marsh.”

Bill has organised a public meeting on November 24, at 7pm, in Burngreen Hall. Anyone interested in getting involved is more than welcome to attend.