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Recognition for Borough's blooming brilliant volunteers

Darwin and Jennifer Workman from Ballymena, awarded Volunteers of the Year

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, has announced the winners of the Volunteer of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to in Bloom awards.

The awards are part of the Mid and East Antrim in Bloom Community Competitions.

Cllr Johnston said: “These awards are specifically for the individuals, groups or businesses who have shown long term commitment to improving their local community via clean ups, green ups, and in Bloom activities, and who go above and beyond for the Borough.

“I am delighted to announce the Volunteers of the Year are Darwin and Jennifer Workman from Ballymena, who have been dedicated to litter picking around Ballymena and Galgorm for the last few years. They are a familiar sight along the Galgorm Road especially, where they litter pick most days, and their work has been even more noticeable and appreciated during the Covid pandemic as more and more people took to the roads to enjoy their daily exercise.

“The ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ is Ben Palmer from Greenisland. Ben has been a volunteer with the Friends of Bashfordsland Wood and Oakfield Glen for five years, meeting once a month to complete practical conservation tasks on site. Over this time Ben has carried out river clean ups, pond maintenance, tree planting, invasive species removal and more to ensure the site is the best it can be for wildlife and for site users. His hard work and enthusiasm is very much appreciated by the rest of the volunteers.

“The ‘Outstanding Contribution to in Bloom’ award is being given to two remarkable ladies this year.

“Ann Magee from Larne was nominated by neighbours for her outstanding work in transforming Mill Brae over the last few years. What first began as a memorial area for beloved relatives, Ann has expanded the tribute year on year and Mill Brae is now full of flowers, shrubs, cheerful features and seating. The area is now well used by residents and thoroughly enjoyed by all passers by.

“Elizabeth Boyd from Cullybackey was nominated by colleagues in the Cullybackey Community Partnership who say Elizabeth’s contribution is exceptional, outstanding and invaluable. Elizabeth’s horticultural knowledge underpins the groups ‘in Bloom’ efforts and has seen them win regional and national awards. Elizabeth can be seen around the village most mornings and evenings carrying out litter picks, street cleaning, planting, pruning, weeding, fertilising and overseeing the rest of the volunteers’ work.

“Well done to all. This really shows what ‘in Bloom’ is all about -working to improve our Borough for residents and visitors via clean ups, green ups, biodiversity and community initiatives. All this helps boost tourism and the local economy and spreads some cheer and positivity which is especially needed this year. I would like to extend my personal thanks for all that you do. It is recognised and it is appreciated. Please keep up the fantastic work.”

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