Business and community members who supported ‘Ballymena in Bloom’ have been invited to attend a special event hosted by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar, at The Braid.
Ballymena competed in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom competition in October and won the coveted ‘Gold’ Award as well as the discretionary ‘Gardening for Wildlife Award’.
Speaking at the event Cllr Millar said: “Ballymena was judged in the Large Town category this August by RHS judges, Rae Beckwith and James Cordingley.
“Ballymena went on to win the Gold Award at the prestigious UK-wide RHS Britain in Bloom Awards which were held in Belfast on 19 October.
“Ballymena also won the ‘Gardening for Wildlife’ award in recognition of commitment to wildlife. The Gold Award is a fantastic achievement and puts Ballymena up there as one of the UK’s best large towns.”
Rae and James were very impressed with Ballymena and mentioned many of our local businesses and community volunteers specifically in the judging report.
The judges hailed Berries and Blooms Allotment Gardens at Drumtara as ‘the most remarkable allotment site’ which they have no doubt will be a model going forward.
The judges were very impressed by the committed group of bird ringers operating at Ecos Nature Park, as well as the Biodiversity Summer School which is held each summer on site, and the judges were also very impressed by the education and life experiences being made available at The Base Garden at The People’s Park.
In terms of business involvement in town, the judges felt the Business Improvement District’s work was made very evident, with shops and businesses showing increasing interest.
The judges described the window displays at Cameron’s as “outstanding” and The Smithfield Arms as “very well presented”.
Wrightbus’s electric bus ticked all the green transport boxes for the judges.
Thanks were given to both Wilsons of Rathkennys and Wrightbus who provided transport for the judges on the day.
In conclusion, the judge’s report said ‘the ongoing changes in Ballymena are changing the lives of so many people, in so many ways. Your year round activities are evident and improving health and wellbeing. Your award is very well deserved.’
Cllr Millar concluded: “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the businesses, community groups and volunteers who supported our ‘in Bloom’ campaign this year, giving up so much of your time to plant floral displays, improve areas for biodiversity, keep the town clean and tidy and ‘green the grey’ by brightening up forgotten corners.
“I would also like to thank our hard working staff who are wholeheartedly committed to ensuring our Borough is the best it can be for the local community, visitors, and wildlife, all year round.
“Our vision within Mid and East Antrim Council is ‘working together to create a better future for all’ and the comments today reflect that aim.
“I would encourage you all to keep up the good work, continuing to work across all sectors of our community to build upon the success you have achieved in Ballymena and throughout the Borough.”