HEYSHAM took its place in the national spotlight this week - as a bunch of green-fingered residents strolled away with a coveted national award.

The picturesque village was named best in the UK when it scopped gold in the prestigious Britain in Bloom national finals.

The success, at an Oscars-style ceremony in Cardiff at the weekend, is recognition of the community's work on planting, tidying, painting and hours spent trimming and watering to keep floral displays in tip-top condition.

Judges visited the flower-filled streets in August and were obviously impressed by what they saw.

But not only did Heysham beat the petals off 59 other villages in the top category, it secured further accolades when the judge said it was a 'joy' to go there.

He commented that the village, which got through to the final after winning the regional round of the battle of the blooms, 'enhanced the lives of everyone who lived in it and stepped into it'.

"From the minute you are in the village you quickly realise the community cares for it's environment... and there is no effort spared to make you feel welcome."

Angela Sykes, organiser of the Heysham in Bloom entry, told the Citizen: "We thought if we got silver we had done well and so we were over the moon when it was announced we had won gold. It was unbelievable.

"People worked so hard but now we have got to work even harder next year to improve and go for gold again. It is not just a case of consolidating what we have got."

o In 2003, Heysham's efforts secured a silver award for the village in the prestigious competition.