FIVE parks on Wearside have been flagged up for 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 – ranking them among the best in the country.
To mark the achievement, Sunderland councillor James Blackburn joined partner Durham Wildlife Trust and children from the area to raise the flag at the newly-revamped Barnes Park.
Coun 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 £3.6million redevelopment, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Green Flag award scheme is judged on criteria such as sustainability, safety and cleanliness.
Sixty-five North East parks, including 15 in Durham, have received the award, which is a record for the region.
Across the UK, more than 1,200 parks have received a flag and they will be raised throughout Love Parks Week, which runs until July 31.
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.”