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Ards And North Down

Schools Encouraged to Enter ‘In Bloom’ Best School Garden Project

The outgoing Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, was pictured during the final days of his 2020-21 Mayoral term with West Winds Primary School students Cooper, Riley, Isabella and Aamiyah. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

Schools in Ards and North Down are being invited to enter a new category in the Ards and North Down In Bloom competitions for the Best School Garden Project!

The competition provides a great opportunity for green-fingered students to take part in a valuable learning and skills sharing project in their school’s garden. It is open to all schools across the Borough, and students are being encouraged to work together to compete for the coveted award that offers prizes for the best projects.

The new category will encourage more young students to learn about gardening. The popular pastime has many benefits and can help children with their development as well as being an excellent educational tool.

By taking part in the competitions, schools will not only make their grounds more attractive but they will also contribute to the Borough’s entry into the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition and other regional awards. Entries are open until 30 September so there is plenty of time for schools to prepare their gardens before an expert panel of judges decide who has the Best School Garden Project in Ards and North Down.

The Council’s In Bloom campaign and community competitions were officially launched at the end of April. Other competitions for young gardeners include a Tallest Sunflower Competition, Painting Competition, and Young Volunteer of the Year.

For those over the age of 16, categories include Best Kept Front Garden, Gardening for Wildlife, Best Kept Commercial Premises, Best Kept Community Planting Scheme and Volunteer of the Year.

The competitions are free to enter and prizes are available for the winners and runners-up in each. For more information, visit ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/inbloom.

Ards And North Down

Crawfordsburn Country Park Celebrates 50 Years

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has unveiled new memorials to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the park and 75 years since the creation of the Ulster Way.

Both milestones have been marked with bespoke wooden memorials carved from a 100 year old Red Cedar tree which had to be felled for safety reasons in 2020.

Speaking at the event, Minister Poots said: “Crawfordsburn Country Park and The Ulster Way, especially the North Down Coastal Path are enjoyed by so many people and are hugely important sites for engagement with our natural heritage, nature and outdoor recreation. This year has already seen over 800,000 visits to the site.

“I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to commemorate both of these anniversaries, particularly when we also mark the centenary year of Northern Ireland. 

“We are all indebted to the foresight and pioneering hard work of all those individuals who worked so hard to ensure that these important natural assets were conserved and protected for future generations and the enjoyment of all.”

Mr Joe Furphy OBE who oversaw the creation and opening of the original park 50 years ago said: “Crawfordsburn Country Park immediately became a big attraction to the people of Belfast in particular.

“The park which has regularly seen annual visitor numbers of more than 750,000 is now also offering a digital experience to visitors, locally accessible through QR codes displayed on new signage across the park.”

Speaking about the new digital access to the park, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted that we have been able to take people’s experience of the park into the digital world. They can now discover the park on the MyNI website in a way which wouldn’t have been possible 50 years ago and certainly not even envisaged one hundred years ago.  

“The website will feature useful information about the park for visitors as well as its rich and interesting history over the years, optimising visitor experience and public engagement with the site and creating understanding as to how some of our most precious natural spaces have evolved over the past century.”

Minister Poots added; “As well as honouring all those who helped create the park, I would like to pay tribute to all of those who have worked and continue to work so hard, to ensure the park continues to be one of Northern Ireland’s premiere destinations for naturally inspired outdoor recreation.”

The new memorials are located outside the park’s visitor centre, and beside the recently replaced foot bridge at the mouth of the Crawford’s Burn and to visit the park virtually go to https://go.myni.life/ccp

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Ards And North Down

Veterans Parade Returns to Newtownards on 24 September

Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

A parade led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, supported by Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, will form part of the annual Veterans Evening in Conway Square, Newtownards, on Friday 24 September at 7pm.

The event will be hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and will recognise the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the Borough who served their country, both at home and abroad.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“We have many serving and past members of the Armed Forces living in the Borough. This annual event pays tribute to our veterans and it is a time to remember those who served, sacrificed and fought for our freedom. I look forward to the event and hope that many of our residents will line the streets in support of our veterans.”

Starting from Court Square at 7pm, the band will follow a route to Conway Square (via Court Street and South Street) where it will be received by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down.

A Beating Retreat ceremony, with a colourful cavalcade of military music, tradition and precision drill, will then take place, with Royal British Legion veterans parading alongside members of the many regimental associations from the Borough and beyond.

The band will follow a return route from Conway Square to Court Square via High Street, Mill Street, Gibson’s Lane, Regent Street, Frances Street, Castle Place and Castle Street.

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