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Five Wearside parks have been honoured with a national award.

Roker Park, Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve, Mowbray Park, Herrington Country Park and Barnes Park have received a Green Flag for their high standards and role in the community.

The award scheme is the national standard for parks in the UK and seeks to reward areas of high quality and good management.

have all been recognised, placing them on the list of the best green spaces in the country.

To mark the achievement Councillor James Blackburn joined partner Durham Wildlife Trust and local schools to raise the Green Flag at Barnes Park.

Councillor Blackburn said: “We can all be proud that five of our parks have received the prestigious Green Flag.

“I’m particularly delighted that Barnes Park has received it this year after all the hard work that has gone into restoring it to its former glory.

“Sunderland is committed to providing parks and open, green spaces for people of all ages to enjoy, and these awards are testament to this.”

Barnes Park recently re-opened after a £3.6 million redevelopment largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The award scheme is judged on various criteria such as sustainability, where it’s safe and secure and if it is clean and well maintained.

In total 65 parks have received the award across the North East, which is a record high for the region.

There has also been four winners of the Green Flag Community Award announced, which goes to parks managed by community and voluntary groups.

Apart from the five awarded in Sunderland there is 15 on the list in Durham and ten in Newcastle.

Throughout the UK more than 1200 parks have received the award and they will each be raising their flags throughout Love Parks Week from 23 to 31 July.

Moorside Cemetery in Durham achieved Green Flag status last year and has retained it this year as well.

Moorside Community Association member Rita Dixon said: “The residents funded a seat for the cemetery and the youth club have been helping with the flowerbeds and planting seeds.

“It’s clean and fresh and we are very proud of it and the work that has been done with the council here.”

Durham County Councillor Brian Stephens said: “I am extremely proud that we have worked together to achieve 15 flags and to hold the largest number in the country for our cemeteries is just wonderful.

“We know how important it is that these places offer welcoming and tranquil environments for people to remember their loved ones and I am so proud of this achievement.”