Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, has said the city is ‘blooming with pride’ today after winning a Gold award – the highest accolade available – at this year’s prestigious Britain in Bloom competition.
The success was announced at an awards ceremony held in Llandudno, North Wales on Friday evening, hosted by TV presenter and renowned garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair.
Welcoming the ‘Gold’ success in the ‘Small City’ category, Mayor McHugh said: "To pick up a Gold award in this prestigious competition is testament to the hard work and dedication of both Council staff and local communities – who have done so much to transform the city into greener, cleaner and more beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy.
“As a Gold winner, the city has demonstrated to the judges an exceptionally high standard – demonstrating best practice, continuing development and sustainable effort. Indeed, this well-deserved recognition serves to confirm Derry as one of the greenest and most beautiful cities in these islands.
“I therefore hope that this success will encourage even more visitors to what is such a bright and welcoming city.”
Derry and Strabane Council’s Ground Maintenance Manager Danny McCartney, who attended the awards ceremony in Wales, added: “To have been named as a Gold award winner in the ‘Small City’ category is really fantastic for everyone involved.
“We all feel a great sense of pride in achieving such a prestigious award.
“A huge amount of creativity and dedication goes into our floral displays and open spaces throughout the city and district.
“I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank all who participated in, and helped to achieve this award – and in doing so create an attractive place for people to live in as well as welcome visitors.
“In particular, I would like to highlight the work of the Cleansing Department – whom the judges awarded their first 100% mark to.
“Indeed, the exceptional standards of our floral displays and open spaces are down to the dedication and hard work of so many people who continue to ensure that Derry looks at its very best.”
Between them, this year’s Britain in Bloom finalists planted over a million trees, bulbs and other plants, transforming villages, towns and cities into green havens that lift people’s spirits and improve their wellbeing.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom judges, said: “It’s a huge honour to witness how Britain in Bloom brings people together and the lengths that groups go to in order to make their communities clean, green and beautiful. We saw an incredible diversity of different planting schemes, including wildflower meadows for wildlife, community food growing and plants chosen to cope with our changing climate.
“This year, the standard was as high as ever but what really stood out was the creativity and ingenuity that groups showed in tackling the specific challenges of their particular areas, whether that be lack of funding, local social issues or tricky site conditions.”