Published Monday, 08 October 2012
Broughshane has been named Champion of Champions in the Britain in Bloom awards. (© UTV)
Broughshane has picked up 73 titles in competitions in 25 years for its beautiful floral displays.
The Royal Horticultural Society Champion of Champions award deems the village as arguably the UK's cleanest, greenest and most beautiful.
The local residents credit a friendly local community as the key to not only the villages green fingers but also a great atmosphere.
The plants and flowers are maintained by volunteers, including 97-year-old Joe McClintock. He got involved 20 years ago and grew a lot of the flowers from his own nursery in his garden.
He says the village is a place he loves to be.
Also crowned in the competition was Ahoghill which has been awarded top prize in the Small Towns category of the prestigious competition after representing Northern Ireland.
Local traders are overjoyed with the news.
"The whole community has come together to support our efforts and the results to date have been truly remarkable," said James Perry of the Ahoghill Traders' Association.
"To reach the final three years in a row is a remarkable achievement. Full credit must go to the team of enthusiastic volunteers who have made all of the success possible.
"The advice and comments provided by the Britain in Bloom judges will allow us to continue on our environmental transformation!"
More than 1,200 communities across the UK - from the biggest cities to the smallest villages - take up the challenge each year to green-up and clean-up.
Chair of the RHS judging panel Roger Burnett led a team of 14 volunteer judges who toured the UK in July and August visiting each finalist.
They marked against three key criteria - horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility.
"We had the privilege and pleasure of visiting the most environmentally aware communities in Britain and meeting the wonderful people responsible for them," said Mr Burnett.
"The best thing about being a judge is meeting the volunteers.
"They're hard-working and resilient - whatever's thrown at them, whether it's a hose-pipe ban or flooding, they'll find a way around it. It's a hugely comforting thought to know that there are over 200,000 Britain in Bloom volunteers across the UK."
© UTV News