Two Newtownabbey villages were represented at the launch of the 36th annual year’s Translink Ulster in Bloom competition.
This year’s horticultural competition has attracted 168 entries representing 25 council areas, including Newtownabbey; local community groups, including Ballynure and Balleaston; businesses, bus and train stations which are preparing to impress judges with beautiful floral presentations.
Competition categories include: Small Village, Large Village, Small Town, Town, Large Town, City, Roses in Towns, Special Awards for Outstanding Presentation, Community Rail Halt, Floral Station and Most Improved.
This year, Ulsterbus Tours are supporting a new Community Champion Award; councils are being asked to nominate someone from their local area who has made a lasting and positive difference by embracing Ulster in Bloom – full details are available at www.translink.co.uk/ulsterinbloom.
A ‘Special Award’ will also be presented by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to the entry that best demonstrates support for the ‘Giro D’Italia’ legacy theme.
Speaking at the official launch in Ballymena, Translink board member Tony Depledge explained:“The competition encourages cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland to look their best, boosting civic pride through beautiful plant and floral displays. It celebrates and rewards the skill, passion and dedication shown by local gardeners who make Northern Ireland a more attractive place to live in or visit.
“We are also looking forward to recognising the efforts of all the many ‘community champions’ out there who have made a longstanding contribution to Ulster in Bloom and gone that extra mile to make their area look fantastic.
“Judges will be out in July and August to assess this year’s entries and we would also encourage more people to get up and go out and about by bus or train during the summer to explore the Ulster in Bloom locations sitting right on their doorstep.
Councillor Evelyne Robinson, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said: “NILGA represents, promotes, sustains and improves local government on behalf of its 26 member councils. It is fitting that we support Translink Ulster in Bloom across individual council area now, and beyond April 2015.”
“I would like to pay a special tribute to the Councils ‘Parks and Technical Services’ Departments. Their interest, enthusiasm and high standards of horticulture are to be admired and encouraged.
“I would also like to thank the many citizens and local community groups for their tremendous work in conjunction with local councils. The combined effort has made a notable improvement to the environment and townscapes right across Northern Ireland, which I applaud and I know the Association is most keen to encourage.”