Carrickfergus in Bloom News

Borough Success at Gardening Oscars (16 October 2014)

Carrickfergus Borough has scooped two Silver Gilt awards at the 50th Britain in Bloom UK Final awards in Bristol. Britain in Bloom is Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Carrickfergus was successful in the Large Town category and Whitehead scooped another Silver Gilt in the Small Town category.

Commenting on the experience of taking part in Britain in Bloom 2014, Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks and Countryside Sub Committee of Carrickfergus Borough Council stated: “Once again we have benefitted immensely from participating in Europe’s premier horticultural awards scheme. From an aesthetical perspective, the Borough’s planting schemes are looking tremendously well. However, on a more important note, it is the immense community and voluntary participation and support of our initiatives, at creating and maintaining our blooming borough on an all year round basis that is pivotal in our ability to take part in this prestigious competition. I would like to commend all who took part in this year’s initiative.”

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer who attended the ceremony which was held at the Bristol Marriott City Centre and was attended by almost 400 community gardening champions, said “This is a wonderful accolade for the Borough. It is the result of much hard work and no-one should underestimate the amount of effort which has gone into this campaign by all our partners. Our Borough's successes could not have happened without the generous support of local people, businesses and schools; and statuary bodies such as Carrickfergus Borough Council, the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development.”

Bill Pollock, Chairperson of Brighter Whitehead who also attended the ceremony said “Britain in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for Whitehead to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our ‘in bloom’ campaign is much more than flowers and making the town look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative that looks at sustainable development and biodiversity, conservation and recycling, local environmental quality, permanent landscaping, and public awareness of the environment. I would encourage everybody interested in our campaign to visit the Brighter Whitehead website (www.brighterwhitehead.co.uk) for further details on our campaign and how you can help us next year.

Ulster in Bloom Awards for Whitehead (17 September 2014)

Whitehead had received two awards at Ulster in Bloom today in Londonderry. 2nd place in the Small Town Category
and winner in the Community Rail Halt catergory for Whitehead Rail Station.

Britain in Bloom Judges to visit Borough (4th August 2014)

Independent judges from Britain in Bloom and appointed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are set to visit Carrickfergus and Whitehead to assess the town’s entry into this year’s prestigious Britain in Bloom competition. On Monday 4th August, judges Jon Wheatley and Darren Share will visit Carrickfergus and on Friday 8th August judges Mark Wasilewski and Brendan Mowforth will visit Whitehead.

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee said: “We are really looking forward to meeting the judges when they visit our Borough next Monday and Friday – it’s always so useful when they give us advice on ways we can improve our public spaces even more. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who help keep our borough tidy and beautiful.”

The imminent judging is the culmination of many months of hard work. There is a keen sense of anticipation before their visits, as Britain in Bloom is one of Europe’s premier horticultural award schemes. The judges will be assessing our entries on three established criteria:

Alderman Beattie added “Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, and play a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it’s important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important.”

Alderman Beattie explained “Carrickfergus and Whitehead were selected from more than 1,000 entrants to take part in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals 2014, as the campaign celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Carrickfergus and Whitehead will be representing Northern Ireland in two of the twelve categories.

Ulster in Bloom nominated Carrickfergus and Whitehead to the national finals of the competition following the regional stage of judging in 2013. Both Carrickfergus and Whitehead were selected for engaging every element of the community, for demonstrating an exceptional commitment to helping the environment and for horticultural excellence. Carrickfergus will be joining Belper, Colwyn Bay, Congleton, Farnham, Malvern, Perth, Truro, Wisbech, Alton and Durham in the Large Town category. Whitehead will be joining Cranbrook, Dunnington, Pitlochry and Sedgefield in the Small Town category.

“The Britain in Bloom judges are highly-qualified horticulturalists and will be accompanied by Alderman May Beattie, and staff from Carrickfergus Borough Council’s Parks and Countryside Service in a Hyundai jeep supplied by Carrickfergus based Cannon Motors.” Ended Alderman Beattie

Stephanie Eynon, RHS Community Horticulture Manager, said: “This is a really special year to be an RHS Britain in Bloom finalist because it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the campaign. We would like to congratulate every group for reaching the finals of RHS Britain in Bloom but of course it’s not about beating fellow finalists, it’s about volunteers of all ages and walks of life gaining recognition for their extraordinary efforts to improve streets and neighbourhoods in towns, villages and cities across Britain. The awards are our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and may I wish both Carrickfergus and Whitehead as well as every finalist the very best of luck in this golden anniversary year.”

The winners and runners-up will be announced at a national awards ceremony in Bristol on 16th October 2014.

Biodiversity Summer School in Diamond Jubilee Wood (4 August 2014 2014)

Carrickfergus Borough Council will be hosting a Biodiversity Summer School from Monday 4th to Friday 8th August 2014 – every morning from 11am to 1pm at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead. The aim is to inspire and galvanize Borough residents to discover more about the incredible species and habitats on their doorstep.

The Biodiversity Summer School is a free outdoor event across five days and gives families the opportunity to take part in fun biodiversity projects such as pond dipping, mini-beast hunts and bird box building. Learn about the natural world through a variety of activities and games. There is no need to book - just turn up to take part whatever your age. We will be meeting every morning at 11am at Bentra Car Park (Slaughterford Road, Whitehead).

This is the second year of the Biodiversity Summer School (see enclosed photo from last year) which is part of a wider environmental campaign headed by the BBC called the ‘Summer of Wildlife’. Which has a clear purpose to showcase and celebrate the UK's unique and extraordinary flora and fauna.

The Biodiversity Summer School is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our local wildlife at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead. Although the wood only opened in 2012, the 60 acre site which is the Borough’s newest public park, is already a haven for wildlife and an excellent opportunity to celebrate the local biodiversity we have on our doorstep.

Event Details:

Day 1 (Monday 4th August): Natural Art: Come along on a guided tour of the woodland and collect natural materials to make your own unique piece of art! Leaves, twigs, petals and grasses can be bound together or pressed onto paper to make a wonderful picture or creative piece of jewellery to take home.

Day 2. (Tuesday 5th August): Come Dine with Me: Help feed our feathered friends by making lots of tasty cakes and treats from raw ingredients. Using natural and recycled materials these treats can be left in the nature reserve or taken home and will completely biodegrade. Learn how to reuse household waste to create simple feeders for taking home and learn the importance of feeding birds especially through the winter season.

Day 3. (Wednesday 6th August): Pond Life: What's living in the water in the woodland? From quick- flying insects on the surface to wriggly fish in the water, catch and bottle a variety of minibeasts for a closer look at the secretive and mysterious world of the pond. Learn about the food chain of the pond, how they share the wettest part of the wood and what you can do to enhance their wild habitat.

Day 4. (Thursday 7th August): Build-a-Box: Do you want to attract more wildlife into your garden? Make your own habitat for wildlife to take home. Choose from bird or bat box or a mini-beast hostel, and use a range of hand tools to follow a set template. Learn how the importance of protecting our native birds and bat with instruction on where to place and how to monitor your bird and bat box.

Day 5. (Friday 8th August): Seed Bombing: Get your hands dirty for a great cause. Roll up your sleeves and make mud pies and dip them in lots of lovely native wildflower seeds. Join us for a walk around the woodland, find a bare patch of ground and then... throw your seed bomb where it will grow into a beautiful patch of wildflowers over the next few years. Bees will love you for giving them food!

For further information or for updates on the above information check the Council website www.carrickfergus.org or telephone 028 9335 8000.

Golden Year for Carrickfergus Borough in the RHS Britain in Bloom 2014 Finals. (31st January 2014)

Carrickfergus & Whitehead will represent Northern Ireland at the 50th Britain in Bloom finals. Carrickfergus and Whitehead have been selected from more than 1,000 entrants to take part in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals 2014, as the campaign celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Carrickfergus and Whitehead will be representing Northern Ireland in two of the twelve categories. Ulster in Bloom nominated Carrickfergus and Whitehead to the national finals of the competition following the regional stage of judging in 2013. Both Carrickfergus and Whitehead were selected for engaging every element of the community, for demonstrating an exceptional commitment to helping the environment and for horticultural excellence.

Carrickfergus will be joining Belper, Colwyn Bay, Congleton, Farnham, Malvern, Perth, Truro, Wisbech, Alton and Durham in the Large Town category. Whitehead will be joining Cranbrook, Dunnington, Pitlochry and Sedgefield in the Small Town category. During July and August, both Carrickfergus Borough towns will be visited by two RHS judges who will meet community representatives and go on a tour of local projects. As well as the usual bedding displays, judges will inspect everything from local recycling initiatives to areas of natural habitat and conservation. They will also be looking at the management of street furniture and public parks, and will be assessing how well the group is responding to climate change and budget limitations by giving awards for sustainable practices and inventive schemes to raise money to fund projects. Carrickfergus and Whitehead are both going for Gold and aim to win their categories. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony in Bristol in October and will be attended by representatives of all 74 finalists.

Mayor of Carrickfergus Borough, Alderman Billy Ashe said: “Last September, we were delighted with winning the accolades of five Ulster in Bloom awards, the most ever in any year since the inception of the competition. Building on this achievement, this year’s nominations to Britain in Bloom provide a great opportunity to represent Northern Ireland in these two prestigious categories. I look forward to seeing the beautiful displays that will not only enhance our Borough for our local residents, but have a vitally important role in bringing people and investment to the locality.”

Five Awards for Borough at Ulster in Bloom Awards (10th September 2013)

The results of the 2013 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition were announced today (Tuesday 10th September) celebrating Northern Ireland’s finest horticultural talent. The Borough won five awards in total, the most in any year since the inception of the competition. Carrickfergus came first in the Large Town category with Whitehead coming second in the Small Town category. The efforts of the Brighter Whitehead Community paid off as it received the Community Rail Halt award for its work. Carrickfergus Railway Station was runner-up in the Best Station award. Finally, Carrickfergus Borough Council won an award for its innovative Biodiversity projects.

Mayor of Carrickfergus Borough, Alderman Billy Ashe, speaking following the announcements, is clearly delighted with the accolades: "Translink Ulster in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for our Borough to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it is important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important. In the Borough, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the Borough look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day a year initiative. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative and by getting people to work together, we have made our Borough much better.”

According to Alderman May Beattie: “As Chairperson of the Parks and Countryside Sub Committee of Carrickfergus Borough Council, I am absolutely thrilled with the five awards achieved today. The wins are all very well-deserved and I am delighted that this tops the number of awards achieved to date in any given year of the competition. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses and local people throughout the Borough, as well as statutory bodies such as the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development. I would like to personally thank all the staff at Carrickfergus Parks and Cleansing Sections whose hard work and imagination has been the backbone of our entry over the years and I congratulate everyone who took part this year."

Flowerbed to Mark Charity Milestone Unveiled (22nd July 2013)

Carrickfergus Borough Council have planted a beautiful floral display in celebration of local premature baby charity, TinyLife who are celebrating 25 years of supporting families of premature and vulnerable babies born in Northern Ireland. The flowerbed which is located on the Marine Highway near the historic Carrickfergus Castle was officially unveiled this afternoon by Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee who said, Carrickfergus Borough Council is delighted to highlight the good works of TinyLife and help them celebrate their 25 years anniversary.” TinyLife offers a range of vital family support services, including a hospital to home service, breast pump hire, Dad’s support group and a dedicated baby sensory room for babies with disabilities and to aid the mother baby bonding process at the Carryduff offices. The charity has supported a number of families in and around the Carrickfergus area and would like to extend their warmest thanks to Carrickfergus Borough Council, the Sub-Committee and Alderman May Beattie and the people of Carrickfergus Borough for their continued support.

Celebrating the Heritage of the Hedgerow (23rd February 2013)

hedgerow hopes event at diamond jubilee woodThe heritage of the hedgerow is being celebrated with a special hedgerow planting day on Saturday 23rd February 2013 from 10am to 1pm at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood in County Antrim. This free fun event is part of the Hedgerow Hopes Project which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (www.hlf.org.uk), ‘Your Heritage Programme.”

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee said “The aim of the Hedgerow Hopes Project is to engage with a wide range of people to restore and enhance species-rich hedgerows in the Borough for the benefit of our local heritage and biodiversity by delivering practical training workshops in foraging, hedgerow planting, maintenance and laying.”

“This event will concentrate on hedgerow planting and is an opportunity to find out what wildlife our native hedges support and why they are one of nature’s greatest assets. Species-rich hedgerows are important to us as well as to our wildlife. They are of historical importance often marking townland or estate boundaries. They also provide colour, shelter and food, act as stock barriers, and prevent soil erosion. Unfortunately, many of our native hedgerows have lost a lot of these benefits due to neglect or mismanagement. So, we’ve teamed up with Antrim, Belfast and Newtownabbey Councils to restore and enhance the hedgerows in our area. You can play your part too. We want people to get involved to help restore and manage these habitats. We’ll provide you with training to help you develop skills required to support the restoration programme. Over the next two years we will be organising a number of events and training workshops and I would encourage everyone to get involved in the Hedgerow Hopes Project. For further information contact the Council’s Parks & Countryside Service on 9335 8000 or email parks@carrickfergus.org.” ended Alderman Beattie.

You can access Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood via Bentra Golf Course car park. For further information on Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood visit the webpage www.carrickfergus.org/jubileewood. There you will find information on the location, facilities and how to join the Diamond Jubilee Wood Friends Group.

The HLF Your Heritage programme offers grants between £3,000 and £100,000 inclusive for projects that relate to the local, regional or national heritage of the UK. The Heritage Lottery Fund welcomes applications that help people to learn about, look after and celebrate heritage in a fun and enjoyable way. To receive a grant the project must: help people to learn about their own and other people’s heritage; conserve the UK’s diverse heritage for present and future generations to experience and enjoy and/or help more people, and a wider range of people, to take an active part in and make decisions about heritage. Details of the programme can be found at www.hlf.org.uk or phone 028 9031 0120 email: northernireland@hlf.org.uk

Launch of Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough (23rd November 2012)

tree week in whiteheadAlderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee launched National Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough at Whitehead Primary School on Friday 23rd November 2012. The launch will highlight the TREEmendous achievements since the year 2000, in which Carrickfergus Borough Council has planted 160,000 trees and by the end of this tree planting season we will have planted a further 5,000 trees around the Borough.

Alderman Beattie said “Now more than ever has confirmed the need to plant more trees. Recent events have confirmed that the view across the countryside and in our towns is set to change faster than anyone could have expected. In recent years, pests and diseases have started to threaten some of our most loved trees, such as oak and horse chestnut, but the spread of ash dieback and the anticipated devastation of the UK population of ash trees has left everyone considering what the next steps should be.”

“Planting a tree is a very positive thing to do and is great fun, even in the depths of winter. There are plenty of reasons to get planting – it's great exercise, children love it, and you'll be making a valuable contribution to our community woodland. To take part in a tree planting event or for further information contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. t: 93358039 or e: parks@carrickfergus.org”. ended Alderman Beattie

“Anyone with land of their own, whether a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree”, said Pauline Buchanan Black, Director-General of The Tree Council. “This year, though, the campaign carries particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback and carefully consider what to plant. Rising concern about tree diseases has also reminded us of the importance of checking not only where the seed of their tree started life, but also where it was germinated and grown. Not since Plant A Tree in ’73 has there been the same urgency to safeguard a view for the future”.

Alasdair Douglas, Chair of The Tree Council, added “It is almost exactly 40 years since Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Walker stood up in the House of Commons and announced that the following year was to be designated National Tree Planting Year. This was the Government initiative to encourage the planting of new trees to replace those millions killed by Dutch Elm Disease. The Tree Council was formed from that initiative and has been running National Tree Week ever since. We couldn’t have foreseen that we’d be faced with the losses from a tree disease of similar epidemic proportions just as we go in to National Tree Week but this seems a timely moment to ask the public to think carefully about what will happen to their view and what they will do to restore it for future generations.”

Next Tree planting event: Tree Planting Day at Amphitheatre Mill Ponds on Thursday 29th November at 10am. For further information please visit www.carrickfergus.org/treeweek

For further information on this or future tree planting events please contact Stephen Daye on 9335 8000. More tree planting events will take place in January, February & March to keep in touch visit www.carrickfergus.org/treeweek.

“Blooming” Busy Pupils Help Local Traders! (13th November 2012)

downshire school pupilsDownshire School’s Year 11 and Year 12 Horticulture classes were busy this week preparing floral hanging baskets for traders to display in the centre of Carrickfergus. Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie who visited the blooming busy pupils said “The aim of the project, which has been funded by the Council’s Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, is to brighten up the town centre this Christmas and use the horticultural talents of the Downshire School pupils.”

“Downshire pupils were a natural choice to create the floral displays due to the delivery of the subject of Horticulture which has had enormous examination success; and the interest in the Gardening Club which runs at lunch time and after school. Such examinations and clubs promote vocational opportunities for the young people and certainly their work on the planters for the Council has let them see a possible horticultural career path.”

“Carrickfergus in Bloom is a beacon of community gardening good practice, as it encourages residents to get involved, builds community spirit and improves the environment we all live in. With initiatives such as the school growing clubs, real opportunities for health, wellbeing and learning are being created.”

Principal Mrs Stewart commented on how pleased she was that the school had been given the opportunity to engage in such a civic venture and noted that the pupils now would be able to see their work on public display and would therefore take an even greater pride in their contribution to the local community. Everyone looks forward to seeing the lovely baskets adding a splash of colour to the newly refurbished town centre in the run up to Christmas.

Teachers Mrs Pauline Cowan (Downshire School) and Mr Robert Simpson (Newtownabbey Regional College) observed that doing work like this adds an extra dimension to the pupil’s experience of school and certainly provides added value to their educational experience.

Robert Stewart from Carrickfergus Traders Association thanked the school on behalf of the town centre shops benefiting from the floral displays this Christmas. He added “The Traders Association has been working in partnership with Carrickfergus Regeneration Partnership to roll out a floral scheme initiative. It is hoped that further work including community gardens within the town centre will compliment the completed public realm improvement scheme and that this will be an opportunity for more schools across the Borough to be involved”.

Rose Award Success for Borough (13th September 2012)

roses in carrickfergusCarrickfergus has been award the Translink Ulster in Bloom – Roses in Towns Trophy for 2012 at an award ceremony at Belfast Castle today. The Roses in Towns Trophy, is presented annually to the Council area with the best display of roses. The Borough also received the Best Station Award for Carrickfergus Rail & Bus Station and Best Community Rail Halt Award for Whitehead Rail Station.

Alderman May Beattie said "The three awards received today is recognition of the horticultural talent we have within the borough. Translink Ulster in Bloom is a great opportunity for our Borough to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it's important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important.

In the Borough, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the Borough look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, by getting people to work together we have made our Borough better. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local people, community groups, businesses and other statuary bodies. I would like to thank the Council’s Parks and Cleansing staff whose hard work and imagination has been the backbone of our entries over many years and I congratulate everyone who took part this year." Ended Alderman May Beattie

Tallest Sunflower Competition (19th August 2012)

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee is asking the Borough’s young gardening enthusiasts who have not filled in their application to do so before 4th September. Alderman Beattie said "Carrickfergus Borough Council in April handed out thousands of sunflower seeds to Carrickfergus Borough primary and secondary school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. We also distributed application forms with the seed packs and have been amazed by the number of applications and photos received to date, the competition really catches the imagination of our young people. Last year's winner Joel McKimm from Carrickfergus grew a massive sunflower over 3 meters in height and we hope to have similar sizes this year despite the poor summer weather and recent stormy weather "

"Applicants for the Tallest Sunflower Competition are requested to measure their sunflower during the last week of August using a metric tape measure and complete the application form. Additional application forms are available from the Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre, Local Newspapers or from the Carrickfergus in Bloom website: www.carrickfergusinbloom.org. Due to the bank holiday Tuesday 4th September is the last day applications will be accepted and not 1st September as recently advertised in press advertisements and on promotional leaflets. The Carrickfergus in Bloom Children's Community Competitions have a total prize fund of £350. Other competitions include Poetry & Painting; entries for these competitions must be received by 30th September. Everybody who lives within the Borough of Carrickfergus is invited to take part in Carrickfergus in Bloom as there is something for everyone. By entering you not only brighten up your own house but you also aid our Borough's entry to the Ulster in Bloom competition." ended Alderman Beattie. The winners and runner-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes.

Whitehead Community Clean-Up (1st April 2012)

A Whitehead Community Clean-Up will take place on Sunday 1st April 2pm – 4pm. Meeting at Presbyterian Church Halls. Refreshments provided afterwards. This is a chance for everyone in the community to come together to give the town a good clean for the Easter holidays. We will be working with Brighter Whitehead on flower beds and path clearance as well as helping the Whitehead Wombles litter-pick the town, the shorefront and the roads leading into and out of the town. Bags, gloves, pickers and bibs will be provided but if you could bring a brush or a shovel that would help. Also bring strong gloves if you have them. If you or your organisation would like to take part, contact Noel McKee on 07825 147927 for details or just come along at 2pm on Sunday 1st April. Get involved and make a difference.

Whitehead Diamond Begins to Sparkle (25th February 2012)

sammy wilson at whitehead jubilee woodThe ‘Diamond Wood’ at Whitehead is glowing with life thanks to the hard work of nature lovers from throughout Northern Ireland. School children, local people and visitors transformed the landscape by planting thousands of trees during a week-long series of events in celebration of the Queen’s historic Diamond Jubilee. Whitehead's new wood is the result of a partnership between the Woodland Trust and proud owner Carrickfergus Borough Council; and is one of 60 Diamond Woods springing to life across the UK as part of the Trust's ambitious Jubilee Woods project. The Northern Ireland gem will be home to 60,000 native saplings, mostly oak and ash. In addition, a majestic tree-lined avenue already has pride of place: 54 copper beech trees represent the 54 countries within the Commonwealth and extend a warm leafy welcome to all. The 'Commonwealth Tree Avenue' was planted by the Housing Executive's Housing Community Network as part of its work to promote good race relations across Northern Ireland. Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: "We're extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making this land available. And we're heartened by the enthusiasm of the children and adults who rolled their sleeves up to get the tree planting underway. It's a wonderful way to mark the Queen's 60-year reign, while making a meaningful contribution to the environment." The Mayor of Carrickfergus Borough Council, Alderman Jim McClurg, added: "Thanks to collective efforts we have the beginning of a fantastic natural resource. This new woodland will provide a much-needed habitat for wildlife and will be a lasting legacy for future generations. We hope that everyone - local people and visitors from further afield - will take time to explore and enjoy this quiet corner of nature."