Ahoghill is the blooming best Small Town for seventh time

Pictured celebrating success in the 2014 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition are l-r John Small and James Hayburn, Ahoghill in Bloom, Alderman Arnold Hatch,  President ' Northern Ireland Local Government Association, Billy Kyle, Ahoghill in Bloom, Cllr Audrey Wales MBE, Mayor of Ballymena Borough Council, Derek McKay, Ahoghill in Bloom, Philip O'Neill, Translink Chief Operating Officer, Denise Reynolds and Noel Robinson, Ballymena Borough Council, Tommy Stewart, Ahoghill in Bloom and Wallace Elder who also won the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award.
Pictured celebrating success in the 2014 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition are l-r John Small and James Hayburn, Ahoghill in Bloom, Alderman Arnold Hatch, President ' Northern Ireland Local Government Association, Billy Kyle, Ahoghill in Bloom, Cllr Audrey Wales MBE, Mayor of Ballymena Borough Council, Derek McKay, Ahoghill in Bloom, Philip O'Neill, Translink Chief Operating Officer, Denise Reynolds and Noel Robinson, Ballymena Borough Council, Tommy Stewart, Ahoghill in Bloom and Wallace Elder who also won the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award.

Ahoghill is once again celebrating success in the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition, lifting the Small Town title for the seventh year in a row.

Now in its 36th year, the competition attracted 178 entries representing 25 council areas, local community groups, businesses, bus and train stations.

The annual horticultural competition encourages cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland to look their best, boosting civic pride through beautiful plant and floral displays and the 2014 winners were revealed last Wednesday when it was announced that ‘Ahoghill in Bloom’ stalwart Wallace Elder was the recipient of a new award this year, having been nominated by Ballymena Mayor, Cllr Audrey Wales.

Wallace won the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award in recognition of the lasting and positive difference he has made to his local area by embracing the ‘Ulster in Bloom’ ethos.

Further local recognition was enjoyed by Gracehill which scooped the ‘ Most Improved’ Title jointly with Limavady and by Ballymena which came third in the Large Town category.

Extending his congratulations to all those involved in Ahoghill’s Ulster in Bloom success, Councillor for the area, Roy Gillespie said: “They have now won the Small Town title seven years in a row so I would congratulate all the workers who put in so much time and effort to help achieve that.

“Special congratulations must go to Wallace Elder, the Community Champion who spearheads all the work, for his great team leadership and all the effort he has put in over the years.”

Speaking at the results announcement in The Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry, Translink Chief Operating Officer, Philip O’Neill said: “Congratulations to all the 2014 Translink Ulster in Bloom winners and runners-up! You have produced such stunning plant and floral displays which delight so many people on a daily basis.

“This has been another year where we’ve seen new locations claim some of the top spots in their categories which is really encouraging and shows that Ulster in Bloom continues to capture the interest and involvement of councils and communities right across Northern Ireland.

“We were particularly thrilled by the entries for the new ‘Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion’ Award – each nominee was truly inspirational for their individual passion, enthusiasm, skill and longstanding contribution to Ulster in Bloom. They have all gone that extra mile to make their local area look fantastic! ” said Philip.

Ahoghill has enjoyed considerable success in recent years in both Ulster in Bloom and Britain in Bloom. It received GOLD recognition in the 2013 Britain in Bloom Competition and won the overall small Towns Category.

As a result of the great success in recent years, Ahoghill has been named as one of only five locations from across the UK for this year’s Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions, the winner of which will be announced mid October.