Thursday, 25 August 2011

Carrickfergus in Bloom Garden Winners Announced

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee has announced the Carrickfergus in Bloom Competition Winners and Runners-up this morning for the Borough-wide Best Kept Awards.

At the home of the Best Kept Garden winner Shelia Johnston, Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition Winners and Runners-up. We are thrilled with the response from those taking part and impressed with the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent in our community.”

“Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year. I would also like to thank the sponsors for supporting Carrickfergus in Bloom." ended Alderman Beattie.

Sephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer with Carrickfergus Borough Council and one of the judges commented "We where very impressed by the number of high quality entries this year, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit too them. Deciding on a winner was very difficult for some categories; however all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

Best Kept Garden
Winner: Shelia Johnston, Carrickfergus (Pictured Above)
Runner-Up: Leslie Spearman, Whitehead
Runner-Up: Eddie Polland, Whitehead
Runner-Up: John O’Neill, Carrickfergus

Best Kept Container Garden
Winner: Christopher Betts, Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Ruth Hickey, Carrickfergus
Runner-Up: Robert Welch, Eden
Runner-Up: Bill Johnston, Carrickfergus

Best Kept Community Planting Scheme
Winner: Charles Sheils Charity
Runner-Up: Brighter Whitehead
Runner-Up: Greenisland Environmental & Heritage Group
Runner-Up: Barn Court Children’s Home

Best Kept Commercial Premises
Winner: McMasters Butchers, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Northern Bank Limited, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: DeCourcy Centre, Carrickfergus.

Best Kept Cafe, Pub or Hotel
Winner: The Old Tea House, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Brewers Fayre, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Hillcrest, Carrickfergus.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Voting Starts on Virtual Flower Show

Voting has started on the Carrickfergus in Bloom Virtual Flower Show. Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee explained “The Virtual Flower Show is a web based competition that encourages people to submit to the Virtual Flower Show website ( a favourite photograph taken during the last year, which fits one of the classes".

• My Garden
• My Favourite Outdoor Plant
• My Favourite Indoor Plant
• My Favourite Landscape or Garden Setting
• Flowers in their natural, wild setting
• Flowers with pets or other animals

“The Carrickfergus in Bloom Virtual Flower Show affords the community an opportunity to view and vote on the horticultural work of local people. I would encourage borough residents to log-on to the Carrickfergus Borough Council Virtual Flower Show website at to view the entries and vote for their favourite. The quality of the work is very high and the willingness of local people to display their Carrickfergus in Bloom themed work is commendable.”

“Judging is by popular vote from members of the public. Votes will be cast electronically via this website from 23rd August to 20th September. Voting is easy just log on to and pick your favourite photograph. The photo in each category that receives the most votes wins. The winners and runner-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. “ Mr Daye ended

Friday, 12 August 2011

Enter the Tallest Sunflower Competition

1st September is the last day applications will be accepted for the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition.

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee is asking those young gardening enthusiasts who have not filled in their application to do so before 1st September. "Carrickfergus Borough Council in April handed out thousands of sunflower seeds to Carrickfergus Borough primary and secondary school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. We also distributed application forms with the seed packs and have been amazed by the number of applications and photos received to date, the competition is really catching the imagination of our young people. Last year’s winner Naomi Kinnon aged 7 from Carrickfergus grew a sunflower of over 3 meters high and we hope that these dizzy heights can be reached this year also. “

“Applicants for the Tallest Sunflower Competition are requested to measure their sunflower during the last week of August using a metric tape measure and complete the application form. Additional application forms are available from the Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre, Local Newspapers or from the Carrickfergus in Bloom website:

“The Carrickfergus in Bloom Children's Community Competitions have a total prize fund of £350. Other competitions include Poetry & Painting; entries for these competitions must be received by 30th September.”

"Everybody who lives within the Borough of Carrickfergus is invited to take part in Carrickfergus in Bloom as there is something for everyone. By entering you not only brighten up your own house but you also aid our Borough's entry to the Ulster in Bloom competition." ended Alderman Beattie

The winners and runner-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

New Diamond Jubilee Woodland in Whitehead

Diamonds are forever: Carrickfergus Borough Council and the Woodland Trust to create a living, lasting legacy in Whitehead.

Whitehead in County Antrim is set to sparkle with a precious new addition. Land on the doorstep of the seaside village will be the Northern Ireland venue for a new 'Diamond Wood' to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

Sixty new Diamond Woods - each 60 acres in size, plus hundreds of smaller Jubilee Woods are being created across the UK as part of the Woodland Trust's ambitious Jubilee Woods project. The aim is to plant 6 million trees and to involve millions of people in the planting.

The County Antrim gem - just over 60 acres of improved grassland - has been made available by Carrickfergus Borough Council and sits amid a patchwork of fields and pockets of woodland to the north of Whitehead.

The Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Jim McClurg, says: "The creation of this Diamond Wood brings a special opportunity for everyone to make a personal and lasting contribution to the landscape, while marking an historic event. Working with the Woodland Trust, we hope that as many people as possible - members of the public and schoolchildren - will take part in a series of events next spring. Within as little as 10 years, the trees will be towering over the tallest of walkers and we'll have a flourishing woodland, rich in wildlife. We envisage a fantastic natural resource for the benefit of local people and, of course, visitors en route to the Antrim coast."

The project will commemorate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth's 60th year as monarch. Next to Queen Victoria in 1897, she is the only British sovereign ever to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

The Woodland Trust hopes to encourage other landowners to plant their own Diamond or Jubilee Wood, and is offering help, advice and in some cases funding. The Trust is also offering thousands of free Jubilee tree packs to schools and community groups. Designed to help groups enhance local shared spaces, the community tree packs come in two sizes: 105 trees (suitable for a small grove or hedge) or 420 trees (for planting on one acre of land). Groups can choose to plant for wildlife; for wood fuel; year-round colour; or tasty treats. To find out how to get involved, please contact the Woodland Creation team on 0845 293 5680.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Playday in Carrickfergus

Residents of Windmill and Minorca Drive in Carrickfergus had a fun time at Playday this week. Playday is the national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. Playday 2011 was on 3rd August with an event in Windmill Play Area, Carrickfergus taking place from 11am to 1pm.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer said “This was an excellent opportunity to enjoy the new £50,000 extension at Windmill Play Park. Amid the flurry of activity, we had face painting, balloon modeling, bouncy castle, competitions and games. The family-friendly fun free event was designed to promote the importance of outdoor play for young children and encourage adults to get involved too. Play is such an important part of any child's development and Playday provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate it and promote its many benefits. It also highlights the benefits of imaginative play to parents and communities”

“Outdoor play is vital for any child, providing stimuli to learn and the health benefits of being in the open air. The range of play opportunities on offer in Carrickfergus Borough is extensive and gives parents and carers some great opportunities to get outdoors with their youngsters. Getting outside to play is healthy. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle. Play reduces stress and helps fight the obesity epidemic in our society today. So many good things come from good play.”

“Windmill Play Park which opened last month was funded from the EU PEACE III Programme, which is managed by the Special EU programmes body and delivered by the Carrickfergus, Antrim & Newtownabbey (CAN) PEACE III Partnership.” end Mr. Daye

To celebrate Playday, children, young people and communities get out and play at hundreds of community events across the UK. As well as a celebration, Playday is an opportunity to campaign on issues affecting children's play.

This year, we're calling on everyone to celebrate Playday 2011 and show why play is fundamental to children's enjoyment of childhood, and vital to their health, well-being and development. In light of government cuts to play services across the country, it is more crucial than ever that we unite to stand up for play.