HILLSBOROUGH village has received a much sought-after Silver-gilt award in the prestigious RHS Britain in Bloom awards which were held recently in St Peter's port, Guernsey.
Lisburn Council was also shortlisted for a Discretionary Heritage Award at the ceremony, one of only four nominees from across the United Kingdom for this special award. The impact of the village was described by the judges as outstanding and it was stated that credit should go to the craftsmen, gardeners and volunteers involved in the work.
This was the Hillsborough's first-ever nomination to the finals of the RHS Britain in Bloom Awards, which is one of Europe's largest horticultural campaigns throughout the United Kingdom, and which saw Hillsborough compete with other villages exhibiting floral displays of the highest quality from across the United Kingdom.
The judging criteria covered horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
The finalists are ranked by the RHS as Gold, Silver-gilt, Silver and Bronze. Out of more than 1,200 entries across the UK, Hillsborough has achieved a Silver-gilt award for a high standard entry which exemplified best practice. Hillsborough was nominated to go forward to the 2012 RHS Britain in Bloom finals following its in the success Ulster in Bloom competition, held in 2011.
In early August two judges from the RHS travelled to Lisburn City and spent a morning in Hillsborough where they viewed the variety of floral displays on show with representatives from the Council and Hillsborough Village Committee. The Mayor, Alderman William Leathem and the Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Environmental Services Committee, Cllr Andrew Ewing, together with the Director of Environmental Services, Mr Colin McClintock, travelled to the ceremony which was held on Saturday, October 6.
Commenting on the success, the Mayor said: "We knew we were up against the best of the best in floral displays and gardening expertise and I think it is fair to say that we are over the moon that Hillsborough has won such a high award at the village's first Britain in Bloom final in such a keenly contested category.
"It is simply the icing on the cake for us and I want to thank Roy Hanna, Mark Gregg and the staff from our Environmental Services Department who worked tirelessly over a very difficult summer season and who have brought great pride to our City To win a Silver-gilt requires teamwork and skill and our gardeners and cleansing staff are to be very highly praised, because they are the ones who made the concepts of our winning floral designs a reality and who, along with the local community, keep Hillsborough looking so well for visitors and residents alike. I wish to personally thank all of the people involved in this success."
Mr Ewing said: "The Hillsborough Village Committee put their heart and soul into making the village look as well as it did. I would like to thank the members of the Village Committee, they walked the walk with the judges, in August, when they visited the village and delivered a first-class presentation on the work and effort that went into making Hillsborough an RHS winner.
"It is tremendously satisfying to see such hard work and dedication pay . off so handsomely.
"Hillsborough is a delightful village to live in and to visit and we will be capitalising on this award to promote this charming, award winning village as part of the tourism hospitality and cultural offer of the City of Lisburn. I would like to commend the Director, Mr Colin McClintock, and his team for all their dedication and hard work."
Downshire DUP representative Alderman Allan Ewart congratulated Hillsborough on winning the award: "I wish to congratulate everyone involved in securing the Silver Gilt award for Hillsborough in the large village category of Britain in Bloom 2012.
A lot of work especially by Roy Hanna and Council staff and residents, has been carried out, in helping to keep Hillsborough a village to be proud of. Let everyone involved, council, community groups, organisations and individuals do all in their power to strive to win the top accolade in 2013."