OTLEY in Bloom is asking residents to help it replant parts of the town as the COVID-19 lockdown begins to be eased.

The group - which won a Silver Gilt Yorkshire in Bloom award last year - has had to scale down its operations for the past few months due to the restrictions that were brought in to control the pandemic.

Now, though, as all kinds of businesses and venues start to reopen it is keen to get cracking again by filling up the planters around town with bright and colourful displays.

To fund the work it has started a fundraising page, entitled Help Otley Bloom Again, at www.gofundme.com.

Organiser Bill Austin said: “The townspeople of Otley are keen to return to normal as the threat from coronavirus retreats.

“Usually, this pretty riverside town is full of plants and flowers but resources have not been available since March to maintain all the displays. More than 30 large planters are currently empty.

“Otley in Bloom wants to re-plant these and spruce up others to provide an attractive backdrop and lift everyone’s spirits as life returns to our streets.

“We will gratefully accept offers of plants and labour but we also need money for compost, plants and so on.

“Otley residents and visitors alike love the open-air markets, the parks, the shops and the friendly way of life. Having plants around reminds us that we are part of nature and breaks up the hard lines of our buildings.”

The planting of Otley’s planters is usually supported by Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside team. Council staff this year, however, have had to either be allocated to more vital roles or had to self-isolate due to the coronavirus.

Otley in Bloom decided at a meeting this month to take on the replanting duties and start up a crowdfunder for what it accepts is going to be ‘a big job’. For more details visit https://www.facebook.com/Otleyinbloom.