Hillsborough, Co Down has received the top honour at the Best Kept Awards 2018.
Crowned the ‘Best of the Best’, the picturesque village won the prestigious overall award after topping the ‘Best Kept Large Village’ category by impressing judges with its community involvement and effort from local businesses and council members working together to improve their surroundings.
The awards, run in association with George Best Belfast City Airport, took place today at the iconic Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen, where over 100 delegates from councils, businesses and volunteer groups across the Province came together to celebrate the places that go above and beyond to ensure clean, colourful and welcoming surroundings.
Other winners included Donaghmore (Best Kept Small Village), Randalstown (Best Kept Small Town), Enniskillen (Best Kept Medium Town), Bangor (Best Kept Large Town) and Derry/Londonderry (Best Kept City).
The President’s Trophy, chosen at the discretion of the sitting president, was awarded to the Donegall Pass Community Garden, which aims to show Donegall Pass as an attractive and vibrant community.
Other awards included Most Improved Town or Village, Magheralin; The Welcome Award, Maghaberry; and Best Kept Large Housing Area, Belvoir Estate, Belfast.
The annual awards are organised by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council.
The organisation’s president, Doreen Muskett, commented: “Congratulations to Hillsborough, which stood out to the judges due to its artistic floral arrangements, colourful hanging baskets and residents’ enthusiasm for working as a team to create something beautiful.
“It is wonderful to recognise the excellent efforts that have been put in from each town and village represented here today. The fantastic work that has been carried out, largely by volunteers, emphasises the value of civic pride and the importance of making practical improvements to future-proof our communities.
“The Best Kept Awards would cease to exist if it wasn’t for our judges, volunteers and enthusiastic participants from across Northern Ireland. A special thank you to Belfast City Airport for its continued support of the awards and dedication to environmental initiatives.”
Michelle Hatfield, Director of Corporate Services at Belfast City Airport, added: “On behalf of Belfast City Airport, I want to congratulate Hillsborough and its residents for their unwavering loyalty to their community. Their impressive landscaping is a result of hard work throughout the year, which has led them to be crowned the ‘Best of the Best’.
“It is an honour to support the Best Kept Awards, now it its 61st year. Hearing about the direct impact that volunteers have on residents, businesses and the wider community is incredible, with ongoing efforts taking place to maintain the high aesthetic standard that the awards demand.
“The Best Kept Awards have helped to motivate and inspire generations to get involved locally, something that Belfast City Airport also encourages through its Corporate Responsibility programme, which supports various clubs, groups, schools and environmental initiatives throughout Belfast.”
The Best Kept City, Town, Village and Housing Area Awards is the final ceremony of the wider Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards, previous categories include Best Kept Schools and Healthcare Facilities.