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Entries sought for Best Kept Awards

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Entries sought for Best Kept Awards thumbnailJoe Mahon, Patron of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council, Doreen Muskett MBE, President of the NI Amenity Council, Cllr Garath Keating, Lord Mayor of ABC Council, and Michelle Hatfield, Belfast City Airport

TOWN and villages in the Armagh area are being urged to enter the Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards in the competition's 60th anniversary year.

The initiative seeks to identify and celebrate Northern Ireland's best looked-after towns, villages, schools, healthcare facilities and housing areas. First established in 1957, the competition has grown over the years and now includes 89 awards across six categories.

Armagh has a rich history of success in the contest, winning a category title itself on two occasions.

Villages Loughgall and Richhill meanwhile are among the most successful in the competition, winning 23 titles between them.

Speaking at the launch event, Joe Mahon, Patron of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council, said:

“This is a special year for everyone involved with the Best Kept Awards. The competition brings together a host of enthusiastic volunteers from across the country, all with the common goal of fostering civic pride and improving their local community.

“For many towns and villages, the programme represents a highlight of the year, and the chance to see the coveted Best Kept sign erected in their communities ensures the competitive spirit is always strong. We are anticipating over 500 entries this year and would encourage everyone to take part.

“We welcome Belfast City Airport on board as our new title sponsor and thank the organisation for its support in this special year and going forward. Without it, the awards would not be possible."

In the six decades since its inception, around 150,000 volunteers have taken part in the event, with 10,000 entries having been submitted in the past 20 years alone.

The initiative was the brainchild of the late Professor Arthur Muskett OBE who, then a renowned plant pathologist, set out to find Northern Ireland's Best Kept Village. His daughter, Doreen Muskett MBE, is now President of the Northern Ireland Amenity Council.

Doreen Muskett MBE added: "It is with great pride that we launch the George Best Belfast City Airport Awards in this, its 60th anniversary year.

“The competition has made an enormous impact on the lives of our family and, more importantly, on the thousands of volunteers that have made it such a success - and on the communities in which they live."

Entries to the Best Kept Awards, sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport, are now open.

For more information on how to enter an awards category, please visit www.niacbestkept.com or call the Northern Ireland Amenity Council on 028 9040 3681.

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