Bangor set for blooming lovely gardening contest
It is an exciting time for Bangor after the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) announced that the seaside town was among 80 finalists in this year's 'Britain in Bloom'.
With more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities across the UK taking part, making it to the finals of the competition is already a great achievement.
Bangor made the cut after demonstrating outstanding commitment to environmental responsibility, community participation and gardening achievement.
Ulster nominated Bangor to the UK stage of the competition following regional and national judging last year, in the hope that Bangor will be named category winner in October this year, ahead of the other coastal-category finalists.
The Britain in Bloom judges will be coming to Bangor in July and August for a tour of the different projects that are being carried out by committed, green-fingered volunteers.
Andrea Van Sittart, Head of Regional Development with Britain in Bloom, said: "Thanks to the legacy of London 2012, the power of volunteering has never been more widely recognised or appreciated.
"Britain in Bloom saw a 30% uplift in sign-ups over the past year and this year we have a record number of finalists.
"It seems more people are prepared to donate time and energy to projects like this, because they're aware that improving their neighbourhoods can change lives and boost people's confidence, health and happiness.
"The Britain in Bloom campaign is making a difference, and people want to be a part of that," Ms Van Sittart added.
"On behalf of the RHS, I'd like to wish every volunteer from Bangor the very best of luck in this year's UK Finals and look forward to celebrating with you all in October."
'Edible Britain' is the theme this year and will see community gardening groups across the UK turn their public spaces into edible gardens.
Britain in Bloom is the UK's biggest voluntary campaign.
More than 200,000 people devote almost 4.4 million hours each year to enhance their community through the campaign, saving the country thousands of pounds.
On average, groups plant 115,000 trees, 352,000 shrubs and 21.6 million plants and bulbs across the nation each year.
And now it is Bangor's turn to add to those impressive figures.
The Britain in Bloom judges assess a variety of projects, including the maintenance of parks and communal gardens, the management of natural spaces such as wildflower meadows and conservation areas, community initiatives to promote recycling and environmental awareness, and projects to involve local schools and residents.
Stephanie Eynon, RHS Community Horticulture Manager, said: "Britain in Bloom isn't just about pretty hanging baskets brightening up gloomy streets, it's about improving the environment, enhancing lives and bringing communities together through gardening."
The results will be announced in October and finalists will vie for the Champion of Champions category won by Broughshane in Co Antrim last year.