Belfast Telegraph

Broughshane waits to see if flower power can win village top TV award

By Adrian Rutherford

It is known as the Garden Village of Ulster, winning awards aplenty and charming visitors with its beautiful floral displays and quaint buildings.

Now Broughshane in Co Antrim is just one step away from another accolade, after making the final of the Channel 4 series UK Village of the Year.

It will compete with two English villages for the title.

The winner of the show, hosted by Penelope Keith, will be crowned this weekend.

Viewers have seen Penelope and her team of three judges -Alex Langlands, Juliet Sargeant and Patrick Grant - travel across the UK in their quest to find its best village.

The programme celebrates how villages are looked after and the people who live there.

Two locations had already made the final, with Broughshane triumphing in Saturday night's semi-final, beating four other contenders.

It will now compete with Beer, a picturesque seaside town on the Devon coastline, and Hampstead Norreys, a small village in the heart of Berkshire, for the overall Village of the Year title.

People in Broughshane are thrilled by its success.

Lexie Scott, chairman of the Broughshane and District Community Association, said: "So many people in the village connect together as volunteers to improve everyone's quality of life and they are all looking forward to see if they impressed the judges enough to pick up the prestigious title, UK Village of the Year.

"The excitement is evident among all ages throughout the village."

Sandy Wilson, the vice-chairman of the association, said: "Our progress to date has captured the imagination of the people of the village and will hopefully bring us to the attention of a wider audience, both in Northern Ireland and across the UK. "We know that Broughshane is a very special place and this is a tremendous opportunity to let others see this."

Paul Reid, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, said it was an "incredible achievement".

The judges in Saturday's semi-final were impressed by Broughshane's community spirit.

Juliet Sargeant was impressed by the landscaped riverside walk, while Penelope Keith described it as "a stunningly beautiful place", adding: "Broughshane impressed the judges by pulling together to make their village the best it could be, filled with flowers."

Patrick Grant said it was "a stand-out village with an extraordinary story."

Belfast Telegraph

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