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Ballymena loses city status bid to Bangor

Ballymena has lost out in its bid to become a city, as Bangor in County Down was named as one of eight towns to be awarded the status as part of the 2022 Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Bangor joins Belfast, along with Lisburn, to become the third city in Northern Ireland within a 13 mile radius.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey launched Ballymena’s bid last September, describing the competition as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for Ballymena and the wider Borough.

“We have so much to celebrate and to be proud of in Ballymena and the surrounding area,” he said.

“Through this competition, we will showcase all that is good about our ‘City of the Seven Towers’ and the surrounding area.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure fitting recognition for Ballymena and the wider Mid and East Antrim Borough as a critical hub for leisure and tourism, business and innovation, and culture and heritage in Northern Ireland.”

A record number of locations won prestigious city status through a competition, as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The competition to receive civic honours was last run ten years ago to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and this year for the first time ever the competition for city status was open to applications from the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, with the Falklands’ Stanley and Douglas of the Isle of Man among the winners.

Eight places won the royal honour this year ahead of the Jubilee weekend, the highest number of awards in a single competition:

• Bangor, Northern Ireland

• Colchester, England

• Doncaster, England

• Douglas, Isle of Man

• Dunfermline, Scotland

• Milton Keynes, England

• Stanley, Falkland Islands

• Wrexham, Wales

Commenting on Bangor’s win, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said:

“Bangor has a strong community focus and so much to offer, including its beautiful coastline, a thriving marina, and a resurgent cultural and arts sector that is drawing people from across Northern Ireland and beyond for events.

“I’m delighted that Bangor has secured city status, and this well-deserved honour will provide a further boost to tourism and to the economy, creating new opportunities for the community and recognition for the area.”

Applications were opened last year and almost 40 locations from across the UK and beyond put forward their bid to become a city. The applications, which were asked to follow a clear structure were subsequently evaluated by a panel of experts and Cabinet Office ministers, before a recommendation was put to Her Majesty The Queen.

‘Letters Patent’ will now be prepared which will confer each of the awards formally and will be presented to winners later in the year.


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