Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has officially launched its bid to see Ballymena awarded city status.
The bid forms part of a UK-wide civic honours competition, launched in June this year and designed to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen in 2022.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey described the competition as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for Ballymena and the wider Borough.
“We have so much to celebrate and to be proud of in Ballymena and the surrounding area,” he said.
“Through this competition, we will showcase all that is good about our ‘City of the Seven Towers’ and the surrounding area.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure fitting recognition for Ballymena and the wider Mid and East Antrim Borough as a critical hub for leisure and tourism, business and innovation, and culture and heritage in Northern Ireland.”
Harnessing Ballymena’s ‘seven towers’ heritage, over the coming weeks, Council will showcase seven main themes or ‘campaign towers’, all aimed at promoting the rich tapestry of local talent and personalities, our industrial past and world-leading businesses, attractions and areas of outstanding natural beauty surrounding Ballymena, and our unique cultural identity.
The Mayor continued: “Being awarded city status would be a hugely prestigious honour for the Borough, generating tremendous civic pride, boosting investor confidence, creating jobs and increasing economic growth.
“In recognition of these potential benefits, our council team is giving this bid its commitment and I am confident we have all the ingredients as the ideal recipient of city status. I would also encourage businesses and citizens across Mid and East Antrim to join us in really getting behind this campaign in the months ahead.”
Whilst the number of awards to be made has not been stipulated, the UK Government has encouraged local authorities across the four regions of the UK to enter the competition and make a case for why their area is worthy of one these honours.
Speaking about the competition, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "As we look toward a year of celebration, growth and renewal in 2022, this prestigious competition will inspire civic pride in communities right across the UK.
“It’s a great opportunity for towns and cities in every corner of the UK to showcase their heritage and tell us more about the people and places that make their local area so unique.”
All valid entries will receive individual consideration on their merits, before overall recommendations are made by ministers to Her Majesty The Queen.