RED Funnel Ferries has thrown a lifeline to the Wight in Bloom competition.
It responded to an eleventh hour SOS from organisers who said the contest would die without a fresh cash injection.
Wight in Bloom is similar to the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom campaign, which sees local communities work together to plant, prune, and dress local gardens and communal spaces ready to be judged by the competition organisers.
It was credited with doing much to beautify Island towns and villages to the benefit of residents and visitors alike. Previous sponsors included the IW Council, MiracleGro and Wightlink.
Red Funnel's sponsorship will enable voluntary groups to buy plants for their communities, allow organisers to stage an awards evening, and give Islanders a chance to display the Isle of Wight at its colourful best.
Red Funnel sales and marketing director Jonathan Green said: "I am delighted that our sponsorship has helped to safeguard this long running competition and support initiatives to improve the environment for local communities and visitors alike.
"We look forward to seeing the Island full of colour this summer and to meeting the winners at the awards ceremony".
Wight in Bloom organiser Peggy Jarman commented: "The Wight in Bloom competition is a real crowd puller for the Isle of Wight, encouraging towns and villages to brighten up the whole Island. We are delighted that Red Funnel has stepped in to support the competition."
IW Council Tory tourism spokesman Cllr Wayne Whittle said: "I would like to thank Red Funnel for coming forward to sponsor this great Island competition that encourages our Island residents and communities to strive for floral perfection throughout our towns and countryside."
There will be six categories this year, plus an overall winner.
Prizes will be awarded for best small and large front gardens, best public display by a business, best older people’s complex, best young people’s initiative and best community floral project
Green-fingered Islanders can enter the competition by completing the application form in the County Press, by visiting www.redfunnel.co.uk/wightinbloom or by phoning Mrs Peggy Jarman on 615944.