Thursday, 22 September 2011

Virtual Flower Show Competition: Winners Announced

The winners of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Virtual Flower Show have been announced by the Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie. The Virtual Flower Show with a £450 prize fund is the only online competition for local people to show off their gardening and photographic skills. Judging was carried out on the internet by popular vote from members of the public.

Alderman Beattie said "The Virtual Flower Show organised by Carrickfergus in Bloom is an excellent opportunity for Carrickfergus Borough residents to show off their photographic and gardening skills in this internet based competition. The winning photographs can be viewed at 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 next year. To encourage people to enter the Virtual Flower Show we ran a free prize draw to win a Digital Camera, the winner was Ellen Hendry from Carrickfergus."

The Winners and Runners-Up (View Winning Photographs Here) are:

My Garden
Winner - Peaceful Sanctuary by Leah Thompson
Runner-Up - Room with a view by David Jackson

My Favourite Outdoor Plant
Winner - Lily White by Joanne Campbell
Runner-Up - Red on Black by Alan Cranston

My Favourite Indoor Plant
Winner - Curly Wurly by Jean Jackson
Runner-Up - Springtime Comes by Joyce Kernohan

My Favourite Landscape / Garden Setting
Winner - Snowy by Shelley Malcolmson
Runner-Up - View from Slemish by Crystal McClean

Flowers in their natural, wild setting
Winner - Still Waters by Gladys Blair
Runner-Up - Fern by the Fall by Warren Smyth

Flowers with pets or other animals
Winner - Dandering Duck by David Jackson
Runner-Up - Norton by Phil Hodges

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Council Volunteers Help Stem the Tide of Rubbish

On Friday (16th September 2011) Carrickfergus Borough Council staff and their families helped the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) fight marine litter by kick starting the Beachwatch Big Weekend on the Marine Highway Shoreline. Volunteers cleaned the beach of its litter and completed surveys, which will be sent back to the Marine Conservation Society allowing them to tackle marine litter at its source.

Stephen Daye, from Carrickfergus Borough Council said "Thousands of items of litter were lifted, from plastic bottles, drink cans and plastic bags. Other interesting finds included a tyre, fire extinguisher and items of clothing. Litter comes from four main sources: fishing, shipping, the public and sewage related debris (particularly cotton buds). Beach litter is continually washed ashore, making it a very difficult problem to eradicate, this is why the UK wide survey is so important!

"Last years Beachwatch Big Weekend revealed a shocking rise in the amount of bathroom rubbish found on UK beaches. Some householders are using their loos as bins and flushing away items. The amount of sewage related debris ending up on our shores shot up by 40%, according to the latest Beachwatch report published earlier this year. The results of the Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) Beachwatch Big Weekend will be published next spring." Concluded Mr. Daye

Beach litter is an increasing problem in Northern Ireland with approximately one item of litter being found per footstep on beaches. Amanda Wilson, the Marine Conservation Society organiser for the Marine Highway Shoreline said, "Some of our best loved marine wildlife is under threat from hazardous litter in our seas. Hundreds of species of marine wildlife accidentally eat, or become tangled up in litter - and it’s also hazardous to people. It’s great that Carrickfergus Borough Council is so keen to be involved with the work of MCS and have shown such enthusiasm for Beachwatch Big Weekend". For more information on events taking place throughout Northern Ireland visit

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Tallest Sunflower Winners Announced

The winner and runners-up of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition have been announced today.

The winner: Joel McKimm (pictured) aged 5 from Carrickfergus whose sunflower grew 3 meters 30 cm. The runners-up are Emily Turner from Carrickfergus & Rebecca Boyd also from Carrickfergus.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Officer explained "Carrickfergus Borough Council distributed in March, two thousand packets of Sunflower seeds to local school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative to Get Kids Growing. After months of tender loving care by the young people it’s great to see the end results. The time and dedication many entrants spend on tending their sunflowers is extraordinary and is a credit too them."

Link: More 2011 Competition Winners

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Ulster in Bloom Success for Carrickfergus Borough

Gardeners throughout Carrickfergus Borough are celebrating following the results announcement for the 2011 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition. The horticultural talents of our Borough were recognised at a ceremony in Ballymena with awards for Carrickfergus Town and Whitehead Railway Station.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer, who attended the award ceremony, said "After a summer of fierce competition and intensive judging, Carrickfergus received a second place in the Large Town Category. The Borough also was successful in the Community Rail Halt category with Whitehead receiving the third place. Translink Ulster in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for our Borough to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it's important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important. In the Borough, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the Borough look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, by getting people to work together we have made our Borough better. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses and local people throughout the Borough; and statuary bodies such as the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development. I would like to personally thank all the staff at Carrickfergus Parks and Cleansing Sections whose hard work and imagination has been the backbone of our entry over the years and I congratulate everyone who took part this year."

John Trethowan, Chairman, Translink, said "With 127 entries from local councils, businesses and community groups as well as 21 bus and rail station entries, Translink Ulster in Bloom continues to attract high participation levels as people throughout Northern Ireland demonstrate their superb gardening talent. Participants have shown immense skill and creativity to ensure their areas are kept attractive. Their exquisite plant and floral displays can be enjoyed by both local people and tourists, making a positive lasting impression during their visit to Northern Ireland. While a number of category titles have been retained by several council areas, we have also seen a number of newcomers reach the top three placings. We hope these impressive displays will encourage even more people to get involved in Ulster in Bloom next year." said Mr. Trethowan.

Councillor Evelyne Robinson, President, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, said "As NILGA President, I welcome the opportunity to convey my appreciation and gratitude to the many councils, local ‘In Bloom’ committees, volunteers and supporters for all their hard work and countless dedication which all contribute to the ongoing success of the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition. I am especially pleased at NILGA’s support and our continual encouragement to councils in their entries. As a Councillor I recognise the improvement in my constituency area of Ballymoney, I am very conscious of the savings which can be achieved for rate-payers through involvement in the Competition. Careful husbandry and a feeling of ownership by the residents is very helpful in combating vandalism and the nuisance of anti - social behaviour, besides providing education through good example. A pleasant, attractive environment can also be very useful in encouraging tourists to visit, and in influencing potential investors to establish new businesses. Congratulations to the winners and yet again sincere thanks to the sponsors, judges, councils and all those who make the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition what it is today."

Martyn Todd, board member, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, said "We are proud to offer continued support to Ulster in Bloom and commend the enthusiastic efforts and hard work of all the entrants. This competition plays an important role in making Northern Ireland a must see destination by bringing colour and vibrancy to our towns and villages which makes local areas appealing to both domestic and international visitors. And in creating such attractive townscapes, it also engenders a source of civic pride. The Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition is organised by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association with the support of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board."