Magherafelt is gearing up for the 2014 Ulster in Bloom competition which was offically launched recently.
The 36th year of the annual horticultural competition has attracted 168 entries representing 25 council areas, local community groups, businesses, bus and train stations all preparing to impress judges with beautiful plant and floral presentations.
Competition categories include: Small Village, Large Village, Small Town, Town, Large Town, City, Roses in Towns, Special Awards for Outstanding Presentation, Community Rail Halt, Floral Station and Most Improved.
This year Ulsterbus Tours are supporting a new Community Champion Award; councils are being asked to nominate someone from their local area who has made a lasting and positive difference by embracing Ulster in Bloom – full details are available at www.translink.co.uk/ulsterinbloom.
A ‘Special Award’ will also be presented by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to the entry that best demonstrates support for the ‘Giro D’Italia’ legacy theme.
Speaking at the official launch in Ballymena, Translink Board Member Tony Depledge explained: “We are delighted with councils’ response to this year’s competition; the high number of entries clearly shows Ulster in Bloom’s unwavering appeal as it continues to capture the public’s imagination.
“The competition encourages cities, towns and villages right across Northern Ireland to look their best, boosting civic pride through beautiful plant and floral displays.
“It celebrates and rewards the skill, passion and dedication shown by local gardeners who make Northern Ireland a more attractive place to live in or visit.
“We are also looking forward to recognising the efforts of all the many ‘community champions’ out there who have made a longstanding contribution to Ulster in Bloom and gone that extra mile to make their area look fantastic.
“Judges will be out in July and August to assess this year’s entries and we would also encourage more people to get up and go out and about by bus or train during the summer to explore the Ulster in Bloom locations sitting right on their door step,” said Tony.
Councillor Evelyne Robinson, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said: “It is my pleasure and privilege to represent the Northern Ireland Local Government Association here today and to convey our admiration, appreciation and encouragement to the Councils, the local ‘In-Bloom’ committees, the residents, the business community and the many people who supported, and actively participated in, the Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition since its inception.
“I would like to pay a special tribute to the Councils ‘Parks and Technical Services’ Departments.
“Their interest, enthusiasm and high standards of horticulture are to be admired and encouraged.
“I would also like to thank the many citizens and local community groups for their tremendous work in conjunction with local councils.”