Ballymena welcomes RHS judges to town

PJ McAvoy, former Mayor of Ballymena, spoke on behalf of the current first citizen at the Britain in Bloom judge's lunch in The People's Park.
PJ McAvoy, former Mayor of Ballymena, spoke on behalf of the current first citizen at the Britain in Bloom judge's lunch in The People's Park.

Royal Horticultural Society judges have “thoroughly enjoyed” a tour of Ballymena as part of the Britain in Bloom Campaign.

The nationwide Britain in Bloom competition pits rural villages, urban corners and city centres against each other in a range of criteria, including horticultural excellence, community engagement, and efforts to bolster biodiversity and climate change adaptation.

The Britain in Bloom judges tour included a stop at The Smithfield Arms.

The Britain in Bloom judges tour included a stop at The Smithfield Arms.

For the second consecutive year, Ballymena is competing alongside 75 other entrants from across the UK.

The RHS judges recently toured Ballymena, taking in highlights including Ecos Nature Park, The People’s Park, Broadway and Harmony Hub, and Church Street Three Carpark. The winners of each category, ranging from gold to bronze, will be announced at an awards ceremony in Belfast on October 19.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Lindsay Millar, said: “I am delighted that Ballymena has made it this far in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom competition and is competing with the best of the best across the UK, for the second year in a row.”

PJ McAvoy, former Mayor of Ballymena, spoke on behalf of the current first citizen at the judge’s lunch in The People’s Park.

The RHS judges view bird ringing at the Ecos Centre during their tour of Ballymena for Britain in Bloom.

The RHS judges view bird ringing at the Ecos Centre during their tour of Ballymena for Britain in Bloom.

Speaking at the lunch, RHS judge Rae Beckwith thanked Council for the hospitality, adding: “Myself and my fellow judge James Cordingley have thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Ballymena. We have been humbled by some of the volunteers we have met and we have enjoyed many laughs along the way. We are leaving Ballymena with many fond memories. Everyone, keep up the great work.”

Allison Moore (BID), with James Cordingley (RHS), Stephen Glasgow (Camerons), Rae Beckwith (RHS)

Allison Moore (BID), with James Cordingley (RHS), Stephen Glasgow (Camerons), Rae Beckwith (RHS)

The Britain in Bloom judges pictured during their tour of Ballymena with Gary Kernohan (Wright Bus), Rae Beckwith and James Cordingley (RHS), Claire Duddy and Alison Diver (MEA)

The Britain in Bloom judges pictured during their tour of Ballymena with Gary Kernohan (Wright Bus), Rae Beckwith and James Cordingley (RHS), Claire Duddy and Alison Diver (MEA)