Flower power: 2017 Ulster In Bloom winners announced

Ulster in Bloom 2017
 Small Town winner was Randalstown (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council)
Ulster in Bloom 2017 Small Town winner was Randalstown (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council)

The Province’s most ‘horti’-cultured cities, towns and villages were honoured today at the annual Ulster in Bloom awards.

Sponsors Translink officially recognised the places in Northern Ireland that had boosted civic pride through plant and floral displays.

Ulster in Bloom 2017
 City award winner - Londonderry (Derry City and Strabane District Council)

Ulster in Bloom 2017 City award winner - Londonderry (Derry City and Strabane District Council)

Now in its 39th year, all 11 NI councils participated in this year’s competition which attracted 160 entries.

The big winners were Londonderry, Ballymena, Coleraine, Randalstown, Hillsborough and Charlestown Village.

Meanwhile Castlecaulfield picked up an award for the best village as well as an individual award for Bob McClure from Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society. Mr McClure was the winner of the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award in recognition of the “lasting and positive difference he has made to his local area by embracing the ‘Ulster in Bloom’ ethos”.

Eight representatives from NI will go forward to the National RHS Britain in Bloom.

Ulster in Bloom 2017 Town award winner Coleraine (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council)

Ulster in Bloom 2017 Town award winner Coleraine (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council)

Speaking at the results announcement ceremony, Translink Chairman Frank Hewitt, said: “It’s been a highly competitive year with such an impressive standard of entries and we’ve seen a number of new locations reach the top spots.

“We’d like to thank all the local councils, businesses and community groups who invest their time, effort and expertise throughout the year to make their area a more attractive place to live and visit.”

The Translink Ulster in Bloom competition is co-ordinated by the Northern Ireland local Government Association (NILGA).

Alderman Freda Donnelly, NILGA Vice President, said: “It is my pleasure to convey the Association’s admiration, encouragement and congratulations to everyone who has participated and contributed.

Large Town award winner at Ulster in Bloom 2017 Ballymena (Mid and East Antrim Borough Council)

Large Town award winner at Ulster in Bloom 2017 Ballymena (Mid and East Antrim Borough Council)

“The competition celebrates the successes that can be achieved when councils, ‘Bloom’ committees, residents and businesses come together to take pride in the places where they live and work, creating a better environment for everyone to live in and share.

“With the ongoing partnership support of the councils and sponsors Translink, NILGA is committed to building on the culture of the competition and growing it into the future, harnessing the opportunities provided through council community planning powers.”

The 2017 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition category winners were:

City – Londonderry (Derry City & Strabane District Council);

Best Large Village: Ulster in Bloom success for Hillsborough.

Best Large Village: Ulster in Bloom success for Hillsborough.

Large Town – Ballymena (Mid & East Antrim Borough Council);

Town – Coleraine (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council);

Small Town – Randalstown (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council);

Large Village – Hillsborough (Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council);

Village – Castlecaulfield (Mid Ulster Council);

Small Village – Charlestown Village (Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council);

Most Improved – Gortin (Fermanagh and Omagh District Council);

Roses in Towns – Ballymena (Mid & East Antrim Borough Council).

Special Award were given to:

Carrickfergus (Mid & East Antrim Borough Council) and Castlecaulfield (Mid Ulster Council) in recognition of efforts to support biodiversity.

Honours were also given for Outstanding Plant/Floral Presentations to Belleek Pottery – Fermanagh, O’Kane’s Bar – Randalstown, The Dirty Onion Bar & Restaurant – Belfast and Cove Bay Housing Development – Groomsport.

Bob McClure from Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society won the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award in recognition of the lasting and positive difference he has made to his local area by embracing the ‘Ulster in Bloom’ ethos.

The Best Station title was won by Great Victoria Street Railway Station and the Community Rail Halt Award went to Whitehead Railway Station.