Northern Ireland

Ahoghill wins Britain in Bloom champion of champions award

Castlecaulfield display Image copyright RHS
Image caption Castlecaulfield overcame a vandalism attack to receive an award

Ahoghill has been named the UK small town champion of champions in community gardening.

The County Antrim village scooped the accolade at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom awards.

Ahoghill was one of only six areas from across the UK chosen to compete in the champion of champions category.

The RHS said its success "confirms its position as arguably the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful small town in the United Kingdom".

Image copyright RHS
Image caption Ahoghill won the Britain in Bloom champion of champion award

Congratulating Ahoghill, DUP MLA Phillip Logan, who is from the village, said: "This is a massive achievement for the village.

"Ahoghill has won many awards since the community got together to transform the village.

"Ahoghill has done Northern Ireland proud, allowing us to compete at such a high level and showcasing what is great about Northern Ireland."

Also winning an award was Castlecaulfield, County Tyrone, whose entry was disrupted by vandalism in July.

Image copyright RHS
Image caption Audrey Wales and Wallace Elder received Ahoghill's award from Jon Wheatley

It scooped a gold award and was named joint category winner in the village category.

It was was also awarded the first ever Britain in Bloom award for overcoming adversity following the vandalism.

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.

Image copyright RHS
Image caption Hillsborough was among other Northern Irish winners

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

Other Northern Ireland Britain in Bloom winners were Belfast, Coleraine, Hillsborough, Londonderry, Newcastle and Whitehead.