An historic Larne park has been recognised as one of the best green spaces in Northern Ireland for the very first time.
Dixon Park, which underwent a £1 million regeneration scheme back in 2010, is one of 20 parks and green spaces in the province that will be flying a Green Flag this year.
The coveted awards are judged every year by volunteer expert judges who visit applicant sites and assess them against the eight set criteria, including cleanliness, sustainability and conservation.
And Ann Marshall, chairwoman of Dixon Park Residents’ Association, described the award as “great achievement” for the borough.
Ann said: “I am so proud that the park picked up this fantastic award; it is a testament to the hard work that has gone into bringing this park back to its former glory.”
The park first opened in 1935, having been gifted to the people of Larne by Sir Thomas Dixon, a prominent local businessman and politician.
The 2010 regeneration project saw the park restore to its original splendour, including a majestic new bandstand, grand entrance gates, new play facilities and even a new education centre for local young people.
Ann added: “Dixon Park was up against some very stiff competition, but the park has a lot going for it and I feel this award was well-deserved.
“Larne Borough Council and the local community have taken great pride in the park since it was reopened three years ago and it has been maintained to an excellent standard.
“This award reflects the dedication of staff and volunteers who work throughout the year to maintain and protect the park, for both present and future generations to enjoy.”
The Green Flag Award scheme piloted in Northern Ireland in 2008/09 and this year, TIDY Northern Ireland took ownership of the scheme.
For the 2013/14 season, TIDY Northern Ireland announced a 33 per cent increase in public parks, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces that have met the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.