Belfast Telegraph

Antrim: From a Crap Town to cream of the crop

By Linda Stewart

It was branded Northern Ireland's worst town earlier this year - but Antrim has had the last laugh.

Antrim was ranked 35 in the Top 50 worst places in the UK in Crap Towns Returns by Sam Jordison, and was the only entry from Northern Ireland to make it into the book.

But the town's efforts to reinvent itself have been rewarded with its first win in the long-running Ulster in Bloom contest.

It has been named Best Large Town in the competition, which encourages cities, towns and villages across Northern Ireland to look their best, boosting civic pride through beautiful plant and floral displays.

Other first-time winners include Larne, which won Best Town, and Hillsborough, which won Best Large Village. Meanwhile, Gracehill and Limavady took the honours in the Most Improved categories.

The 2014 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition category winners were: City – Derry; Large Town – Antrim; Town – Larne; Small Town – Ahoghill; Large Village – Hillsborough; Village –Glenarm; Small Village – Scarva. The 'Roses in Towns' award winner is Lisburn.

Meanwhile, special winners were Antrim and Castlereagh Borough Council in recognition of efforts to support biodiversity, along with The Riverside Bed & Breakfast in Cushendall, Edenvilla Park & Secret Garden in Portadown and the Old Inn Crawfordsburn  for their outstanding floral presentations.

Wallace Elder from 'Ahoghill in Bloom' was the winner of the Ulsterbus Tours Community Champion Award.

Winner of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board 'Giro d'Italia' Award was Loughgall for demonstrating the best support for the Giro d'Italia legacy theme. Best Station title was scooped by Ballymoney, while the Community Rail Halt Award went to Brighter Whitehead Community for work at Whitehead train station.

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