Castlecaulfield blooming with pride after striking gold at Britain in Bloom

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Castlecaulfield is blooming with pride after it scooped one of the most prestigious horticultural prizes in the UK at the Britain in Bloom competition.

The village, newly crowned for the second time as the best village in the Ulster in Bloom competition, was announced as joint UK winner in its category at the Royal Horticultural Society ceremony.

Green fingered residents and volunteers from the village also scooped the competition’s award for overcoming adversity after it bounced back from the devastation caused by a spate of vandalism at the start of the summer.

The South Tyrone village has now confirmed its place as one of the greenest and most beautiful places in the UK.

The success was announced at an awards ceremony held in Birmingham on Friday evening.

Bernie McKenna, chairperson of Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society, said: “We are absolutely over the moon with this result for Castlecaulfield.

“We are delighted; this was the first time we’ve been an RHS Britain in Bloom finalist and we enjoyed the experience very much.

“We are very proud as this was a real community effort and we can’t wait to take part again next year.”

The latest victory marks a remarkable comeback after vandals attacked the village’s floral displays at the height of the flowering season.

A mysterious attacker laid waste to the flower beds at the end of June, plunging the village deep in gloom. Three sites were hit including an eye-catching floral display at the entrance to the village based on a car mocked up to resemble a ladybird.

However, the attack prompted an even greater effort from residents, as well as support from Mid Ulster Council and local businesses, ensuring that the village’s flowering prowess was restored to its full glory in time for the competition.

At the same awards, Ahogill was named the UK small town champion of champions in community gardening.

The RHS Britain in Bloom Awards ceremony celebrates the huge contribution made by the 300,000 Bloom volunteers whose hard work and dedication help transform what are often grey and unloved areas into greener, cleaner and more beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy.

Over the summer, teams of RHS judges travelled the length and breadth of the country to see the 72 finalists’ Bloom campaigns to determine who would lift the top prizes. Each finalist was assessed against three key criteria.