Ballymena and Cullybackey have both won Silver Gilt awards at this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom Awards.
Ballymena competed in the large town category and Cullybackey in the large village category. The event was hosted by TV presenter and garden designer, James Alexander-Sinclair.
Seventy eight groups were chosen to fly the flag for their region in the competition, battling it out for recognition of their horticultural excellence, community participation and gardening for wildlife.
Representing the Borough at the awards in Llandudno, North Wales were the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the year to make Ballymena and Cullybackey truly blossom.
Speaking after the event Mayor, Cllr Paul Reid said, “Everyone involved should be incredibly proud. Silver Gilt in your first Britain in Bloom Awards is a wonderful achievement and is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all involved. It is wonderful to see what can be achieved when communities, businesses and Council work together. I am incredibly proud to share in the success of all those involved and want to congratulate every single person that made this happen right across the Borough.”
The feedback from the judges was incredibly positive. Highlights in Ballymena were the planting schemes and floral displays, the transformation of the Church Street 3 car park and the community participation.
The community events held at Ecos Nature Park drew a special mention with the judges particularly delighted with the wildflowers along Summerfield Bridge, the bird-ringing carried out at the Constant Effort site and the Biodiversity Summer School.
It was clear that the judges enjoyed their time in Cullybackey as well with one commenting, “I will never forget the people, the atmosphere, the passion and the desire to make a difference.”
The judges thoroughly enjoyed the street art, the ‘tall man at the river’, Arthur Cottage and hearing about community involvement throughout the village.
Earlier this year Mid and East Antrim Borough Council raked in 12 awards at this year’s Ulster In Bloom competition, the top performing council.
The awards included first place for Ballymena in the Large Town and Roses in Towns categories.
Ahoghill was also crowned Best of the Best in the 60th anniversary year of the Northern Ireland Best Kept City, Town and Village Awards.