BOTH Blackburn and Barnoldswick have been named as finalists in the 2017 RHS Britain in Bloom Awards.

The groups will join 76 other finalists competing to be crowned one of the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful places in Britain.

Blackburn was chosen for the group’s commitment to environmental responsibility, high levels of community participation and outstanding gardening achievements.

The partnership between Blackburn BID and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council sees thousands of blooms fill the street of the town.

The cost of the planting is supported by local BID businesses, with the council's teams of gardeners maintaining them throughout the year.

Other finalists in Blackburn’s category are London Bridge, Mansfield, Norwich and Penrith.

Barnoldswick’s ‘Bloom’ group will compete in the ‘Town’ category against Forres in Scotland, Anglia’s Halstead, Otley in Yorkshire, Pembrey in Wales, Sherbourne in the South West, St Saviour in Jersey and Uttoxeter.

The group has had a banner made to celebrate its success and has been holding several Easter holiday planting events, encouraging school age volunteers to join in.

In August the Blackburn group will lead RHS Britain in Bloom judges on a tour as it bids to win a top award.

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Llandudno on October 27.

Harriet Roberts, manager of the Blackburn BID, said: “Visitors from across the UK commented on the incredible displays across the town centre last year when they came to our high profile events."

Cllr Jim Smith, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for environment, said: “The flower displays in the town centre look great and we would love to build on last year’s brilliant achievement and win gold for a second year running.”