Three NI towns are bidding to become cities in Jubilee year
Ballymena, Coleraine and Bangor are among 39 places across the UK and British Overseas Territories which could be granted city status as part of a competition to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Bournemouth, Reading, Doncaster and Blackburn are some of the 22 towns in England in the running.
In Scotland, eight areas have applied, including Dumfries and St Andrews, and in Wales, Wrexham has submitted a bid.
For the first time ever, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies were also eligible to apply.
Stanley in the Falkland Islands, almost 8,000 miles away, is one of the places to apply, and there are also entries from George Town in the Cayman Islands and Gibraltar.
According to the Cabinet Office, winning city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there.
The Cabinet Office has also announced the 12 cities which are vying for Lord Provost or Lord Mayor status, including Newport and Perth – which previously won city status to mark the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees respectively.
The competition is part of celebrations to mark the Queen’s historic 70-year reign, with a special four-day bank holiday weekend set to start on Thursday June 2.
As part of their bids, applicants were asked to talk about the distinct identity and community which they feel means their area deserves to become a city, as well as evidence of links to royalty. Unlike previous Civic Honours competitions, an expert panel will work closely with ministers to make recommendations, which will be approved by the Queen. Final decision on the winners will be taken in spring 2022 and announced soon afterwards.