TV star flies in as villages across Ulster battle it out for top spot
Television star Ben Fogel arrives in Northern Ireland on Thursday to host the first ever Calor Village of the Year awards.
The author and adventurer, who first found fame in BBC's Castaway, will be at Galgorm Manor Hotel, Ballymena, to preside over a prestigious contest that will see the 24 finalist villages across the province pitted against each other.
From Belleek in Co Fermanagh to Dervock in Co Antrim, communities have been assessed on six aspects of rural life - community life, business, young people, the environment, older people and communications - and can enter as many categories as they wish.
At the end there will be six category winners, although only those who entered all categories can qualify as overall winner.
The Calor Village of the Year competition, run in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC), is aimed at celebrating vibrant, enterprising and caring communities that make the most of local opportunities.
Mark McClements, sales manager with Calor, said: "We are delighted that Ben Fogel will be taking time out of his busy filming schedule to come to Northern Ireland to host the first ever Calor Village of the Year Awards in Northern Ireland.
"Ben has a real affiliation with village life and is looking forward to meeting representatives from each of the shortlisted villages to hear why they feel they should win, before announcing the category winners and overall Calor Village of the Year."