At the awards ceremony held in London, on Wednesday March 1, Banbridge was crowned the winner of the Champion category, with Lurgan picking up first place in the Rising Star category, winning each town £20,000 and £10,000 respectively for two community funds.
From hundreds of applications – only 30 towns were shortlisted as part of ‘Let’s Celebrate Towns’, a nationwide showcase celebrating the hundreds of towns across the UK. Competing towns were challenged to highlight a range of exciting initiatives, including business and council partnerships to drive investment, and local mentoring to support local businesses, as part of the application process.
Speaking at the event, the Lord Mayor of ABC Council, Councillor Paul Greenfield said: “I’m delighted with the awards, which recognise Banbridge and Lurgan on a national stage for the amazing towns they are. I’m was particularly proud to receive these awards as a native of Banbridge, and on behalf of the people and business owners in both towns.”
He added: “Both communities are continually striving to make their towns warm, welcoming and vibrant places to live, work and visit, and these awards acknowledge their hard work and commitment.”
The competition, sponsored by Visa and the British Retail Consortium, was independently judged by a panel spanning representatives from business, industry and regional bodies, who decided the eight overall winners. A particular emphasis was placed by the panel on recognising towns that clearly demonstrated support for local business and community initiatives.