It’s been quite a couple of weeks for Longford in the environment stakes.
First, there was the excitement brought about by Tubberpatrick Cemetery Committee’s success in the inaugural ‘Get Involved’ campaign and a meeting with President Micheal D Higgins.
Then, days later, Abbeyshrule came agonisingly close to retaining its Tidy Towns crown, falling just two points short of overall winner, Moynalty in Co Meath.
Last Monday night, that feel-good factor continued as scores of homeowners and local volunteers turned out for Longford County Council’s Better Estates Awards.
Established in 2005, the competition marked its ninth year in operation with its highest ever number of estate entries - 34.
Pride of place this year went the way of Curraghrua in Lanesboro, an award which for the past 12 months had been held by Cois na hAbhainn in Ballinalee.
Housing Liason Officer with Longford County Council, Sheila Tipper, said the evening, held at Longford’s Temperance Hall couldn’t have gone any better.
“The awards night went extremely well and the hall was packed,” she explained earlier this week to the Leader.
There were awards too for the likes of Church View in Lanesboro and Church View Drive in Drumlish under the banners of community employment and estates built since 1997 respectively.
Nine other categories similarly came in for praise, as did two other sections - a poster contest for children and best eco/green initiative which Deerpark in Kenagh secured.
“They (Deerpark) took the Bord Na Mona Grow Wise pledge and turned a piece of waste ground into an Eco garden, sowing plants which attract insects and in turn attract birds,” said Ms Tipper.
“They have an insect hotel and have plans for a hedgehog hotel for the winter.”
Clearly, gearing everything to all things ‘green’ is a target organisers are keen to press home.
The same could also be said for inspiring the next generation of volunteers, thanks mainly to the advent of a thought-provoking poster competition.
Besides the many accolades, the occasion set the seal on a year of enterprise and commitment, traits organisers hope to press ahead with over the next 12 months.
“The work is ongoing and I have worked with the residents associations from all of these estates right through the year,” said a clearly satisfied Ms Tipper.
The challenge facing Ms Tipper and others now is how to better a competition which next year celebrates its tenth year.
The following are the winners from this year’s 2013 Better Estates Competition:
U12 Poster Competition-Zara Coyle, 4 River Crescent, Ballinalee (4), Laura Hussey, 46 Padraic Colum Heights, Longford (10), Zach Coyle, 4 River Crescent, Ballinalee (6) and Rachel McKenna, 12 Padraic Colum Heights, Longford (7);