Community gardeners in Cullybackey, Randalstown and Antrim town are a cut above

CULLYBACKEY, Randalstown and Antrim have been hailed as a cut above at a big awards night in London.

Community gardeners are celebrating after walking away with prizes in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual Britain in Bloom competition, announced at a ceremony on Friday night.

Baroness Floella Benjamin presented the awards.


Six finalists represented Northern Ireland following success in the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition or UK finals last year.

A total of 68 groups from across the UK competed in 12 categories with each also vying for a gold, silver gilt, silver or bronze medal.

The village of Castlecaulfield in County Tyrone was awarded a gold medal in the prestigious Champion of Champions category, narrowly missing out on winning the top title to the Scottish city of Perth.

Castlecaulfield impressed the judges with its incredible community spirit and green credentials including wildflower meadows and a woodland conservation area that has been re-vamped with the help of an Eco Buddies youth group.

The “exemplary” walled garden and three-dimensional floral figures around the village were other standouts.

Derry/Londonderry won the Small City category and added another gold to the tally, seeing off competition from Harrogate, Kirkcaldy, Loughborough and Rugby to take the top spot.

The city’s environmental commitment shone through with a move towards pollinator-friendly planting, the expansion of traffic-free ‘greenways’ to link up parks and other green spaces, and the introduction of a Climate Adaption Plan.

Villages Cullybackey, Donaghmore and Randalstown also took home gold medals for the exceptional standard of their entries.

Finalists are judged not only on their floral displays but environmental and community efforts. Each was visited by a pair of RHS judges over a fortnight from the end of July.

Darren Share, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “Congratulations to all of this year’s UK finalists. It’s incredibly humbling to hear about the huge efforts they’ve invested in making our villages, towns and cities greener places to live, work and visit.

“This makes a tremendous difference locally but has a wider impact too. Gardeners are increasingly having to respond to the changing climate, declining pollinator numbers and plastic waste and more communities are galvanizing people around these issues to bring about positive change.”

The Ulster finalists collected their awards from Baroness Floella Benjamin, RHS Vice President, at the ceremony held in the RHS Lindley Hall, London.

The Antrim area was represented at the awards


Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth, was joined by representatives from Tidy Randalstown and Parks Supervisor George Williamson as Antrim Town picked up a Silver Gilt in the Town Category and Randalstown secured a Gold Award in the Small Town Category.

Speaking after the awards, Mayor Smyth paid tribute to all those who had played a part in the success.

“These Awards are all about the people who go above and beyond to a make a difference to their local areas and make them more beautiful for everyone.

“We are extremely lucky and blessed to have such fantastic civic pride right across the Borough. This can be clearly seen in the array of town centres, residential developments and business zones bursting with beautiful colours, eye-catching floral designs and sweet fragrances of numerous flowers and plants.

“Britain in Bloom has recognised that enormous civic pride as well as the volunteers who work so hard alongside our Council staff and teams to keep Antrim and Newtownabbey in such great shape all year round.

“My congratulations are extended to everyone who has played a part in securing these further blooming marvellous accolades for the Borough.”

The full results for the RHS Britain in Bloom finalists representing Ulster are:







Champion of Champions



Young Community Champion award: Jake Sinnamon



Small City

Gold and Category Winner




Large Village








Small Town





Silver Gilt


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