PARISH council chiefs are celebrating after their village’s green spaces retained a prestigious award.
Horden’s Welfare Park, Memorial Park and Thorpe Road Cemetery have each been presented with a Green Flag award.
It is the only parish council in the country to obtain the three accolades, in addition to a Green Heritage Site Award, given for high standards of maintaining sites of national importance.
The village’s achievement comes after Durham County Council was recognised as having the most environmentally friendly cemeteries in the country.
The unitary authority saw the number of Green Flags awarded across the county this year rise from 10 to 15, which is the highest in the region.
Green Flag awards are a national standard recognising excellence and good practice in the management and development of parks and open spaces in England and Wales.
Welfare Park was entered in 2005, followed closely by Memorial Park in 2006.
Thorpe Road Cemetery was entered last year and all three sites achieved the award at their first attempt, and have continued to retain them ever since.
Parish council clerk Paul Davison said: “This is an amazing achievement to retain these awards for another year, especially in a period of austerity.
“Thanks must go to the tireless efforts of all the parish council’s parks and cemetery staff for their standards of excellence and their consistent commitment to providing quality public services to the village.
“Horden is still the only parish in the entire country to obtain three Green Flags and a Green Heritage Site Award and the village continues to punch well above its weight in what it has and will continue to achieve in the future.”
Horden’s achievements come as the village waits to hear whether it has been successful in this year’s Northumbria in Bloom competition.
Durham County Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and partnerships, 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.”
Other east Durham sites to pick up Green Flag Awards this year were Hardwick Park, in Sedgefield, and the Hurworth Burn to Station Town railway path, which was a first-time entry.