THE Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Cllr Maureen Morrow, has presented the Mid and East Antrim in Bloom Community Awards.
The special event was held at Ecos in Ballymena and celebrated the success of those who have taken part in the 2019 Mid and East Antrim in Bloom Community Competitions.
The Mayor was assisted by BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Clements who admitted to being an enthusiastic but novice gardener and hoped to pick up some top tips from Mid and East Antrim’s horticultural experts.
Speaking at the event Cllr Morrow said “Our ‘In Bloom’ Community Competitions are an important way for us to celebrate local people, network of volunteers, and local businesses, who actively support our ‘In Bloom’ campaign and who dedicate so much time to planting floral displays, improving areas for biodiversity, keeping towns and villages clean and tidy and ‘greening the grey’ by brightening up forgotten corners. All this not only beautifies our Borough, but can help boost the economy and tourism.
“I am delighted the Community Competitions are so well supported by our citizens. We had entries from all across the Borough.
“The time and dedication of entrants is extraordinary and a credit to all involved.
“Everyone who took part should be very proud of their achievements.
“Thank you all for your efforts and thank you for being here today. Please keep up the good work, as we work together to create a better future for everyone.”
Amongst a host of winners on the day was Best Kept Garden winners Frances and Jack Wilson from Glenarm, Best Kept Allotment Garden winner Alan Rice from Larne and Gardening for Wildlife winner Damien McAllister from Portglenone.
The Base Garden in Ballymena won the Best Community Planting Scheme award and The Bank House Whitehead won the Best Commercial Premises award.
Young gardeners from Carnlough, Larne and Carrickfergus grew the Tallest Sunflowers in the Borough.
Nixie Culbert, age 8, from Carrickfergus won the Best Painting award and Larne and Inver Primary School won the Best School Garden award.
John Small from Ahoghill was crowned Volunteer of the Year and Abbie Hill from Larne was awarded Young Volunteer of the Year.
Bertie McNeilly from Cullybackey was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to ‘in bloom’.
Three environmental groups – D3MAC Ballymena, Charles Shiels Community Carrickfergus and the Portglenone Paddlers – were awarded the ‘Eco Champion’ award.
After the awards ceremony afternoon tea was provided by Ability Café, now based at the ECOS, and entertainment was provided by the ‘This is Me’ Choir.
This choir was set up last year as part of Mid and East Antrim Council’s Dementia Friendly Communities programme and is open to people living with dementia, carers, friends and family.