SUNDERLAND is celebrating being top of the tree.
The city scooped gold in this year’s Northumbria In Bloom challenge, one of more than a dozen titles awarded across Wearside and County Durham.
It won the best large city category for the sixth consecutive year.
“It is testament to the hard work and imagination of our gardeners,” said council deputy leader Harry Trueman. “And our continuing commitment to making Sunderland an attractive and pleasant city to live, work and study in.
“It’s particularly pleasing that so many special awards were received by groups such as Washington Village, who were awarded a gold medal.”
Coun James Blackburn, portfolio holder for attractive and city, added: “The annual awards are recognised as amongst the highest accolade you can receive for horticultural achievement, community involvement and environmental responsibility, and are a recognition of the hard work of everyone involved working in partnership to make such a difference to other people’s lives.
“Thanks to them our city centre, communities, coastline and parks and even business areas are safer, cleaner and greener places for everyone to enjoy.”
Durham Riverbanks Ranger Paul Parker was nominated for the Bob Woolley Award.
The Durham Riverbanks Project was awarded silver gilt in the Durham Villages Trophy, for best conservation project.
Durham University’s grounds, including the Botanic Garden, were awarded the William Leech Trophy.
Head of direct services at Durham County Council, Oliver Sherratt, said: “By working with partners to create and maintain places where people are proud to live and excited to visit, we can play our part in making County Durham even better.”
Winners from across Wearside and County Durham included Doxford Park, a trophy winner for the best volunteer project; Low Pittington and Shincliffe, silver for the best small village; Boldon with gold and Cleadon and Easington with silver in the best large village.
Easington Colliery won silver for best small town; Horden silver for best town; Chester-le-Street, Hetton and Houghton silver for best large town; Washington silver for best small city and Belmont, Carrville and Gilesgate silver for best urban community.
The White family, from Hetton, also won best front garden.