'˜Spotless' Derry and local couple blossom at '˜Best Kept City' Awards

'˜Spotless' Derry has been named the best kept city in Northern Ireland, with one local couple's remarkable efforts to bring a splash of colour to their neighbourhood also recognised.

Friday, 19th October 2018, 8:56 am
Updated Friday, 19th October 2018, 10:00 am
Maureen and Jim Nelis pictured receving the award with (l-r) Doreen Muskett, President of the NI Amenity Council, Simon Webb, Department of Agriculture, Environmental and Rural Affairs Michelle Hatfield, Director of HR and Corporate Responsibility at George Best Belfast City Airport.

Newlyweds Jim and Maureen Nelis picked up a prestigious ‘Community Achiever’ at the NI Amenity Council Awards held in Enniskillen this week.

While Derry has been crowned ‘2018 Best Kept City’, Jim and Maureen were recognised for their act of kindness.

The couple, who were both previously widowed, married in January, but instead of spending a lot of money travelling to Italy on their honeymoon, they decided that they would concentrate on making memories closer to home by saying it with flowers.

The couple decorated their home and all of their neighbours’ houses with fresh blooms, injecting colour into the Harding Street and Abercorn Terrace area with window boxes, hanging baskets and floral decorations.

The couple’s story has been hailed an example of the “incredible human kindness and community spirit that exists in Derry” – which has helped to bring people together as neighbours now out watering each other’s plants and significantly boosting community morale.

Meanwhile, Derry City was hailed as ‘spotless, well-structured and colourful’ by the judges at the 2018 Best Kept City Awards in association with George Best International Airport.

Welcoming the accolades for both the city and Jim and Maureen Nelis – who were nominated by Derry City and Strabane District Council for the ‘Community Achiever’ award – Streetscape Manager John Quinn said: “The Best Kept City award is symbolic of the hard work, attention to detail and dedication of our fantastic Grounds Maintenance and Cleansing Teams who work throughout the year in all kinds of weather and conditions to make our city beautiful.

“A special mention also to the amazing Jim and Maureen Nelis of Harding Street who won the Community Achiever award for their incredible generosity, spirit and vision in transforming their street into a really beautiful space.

“This couple epitomise the goodness and pride of place of Derry people and I’m delighted that their efforts to improve their community have been recognised through this award,” Mr Quinn added.

Derry, and local Derry City & Strabane District Council workers in particular, have been repeatedly praised and secured several accolades over recent years for the landscape maintenance and floral displays across the region.