The 25th Annual Green Flag Awards, which invites nominations from all over the UK, saw Hyndburn take to the (virtual) stage multiple times with three finalists and two wins.
Gordon Mason, Grounds Maintenance Operative at Hyndburn Council, took home the award for Employee of the Year and Ann Warrington, Chairperson of Friends of Rhyddings Park won the award for Volunteer of The Year. Cath Holmes, Chair of the Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum, was also a finalist for the Volunteer of the Year award.
[image: Coach House at Rhyddings Park]
Gordon Mason was one of four finalists for Employee of the Year award and has been a crucial part of Hyndburn Council’s parks team for almost 50 years. Gordon has helped not only with the maintenance of the parks but has been involved in the various groups and activities throughout the borough. He was also involved in the very first green flag entry of Hyndburn in 2004!
Due to retire next summer, Gordon reflected on his time at the council and looked to the next recruits that will hopefully follow in his footsteps. For almost 50 years Gordon has enjoyed keeping Hyndburn green for everyone to enjoy:
“I will miss it, I started on my 15th birthday in August 1972, I will definitely miss it. Hopefully we will fill the vacancies and get some young apprentices to carry on, if they’re keen then it’s a very healthy lifestyle.”
Volunteers take a vital role in supporting organisations and the annual awards ceremony recognises the hard work that goes into this task. Ann and Cath were two of 15 finalists for Volunteer of the Year award at the online ceremony.
Anne Warrington took on the creation and development of Friends of Rhyddings Park, Oswaldtwistle. She has led the redevelopment activity and engagement for over three years and been the driving force that has seen the community café and network of volunteers thrive. Anne has done all this whilst working full time for the NHS. When accepting her award Ann highlighted it has been tough to achieve but very much worth it.
“At times it is really tough but you have to prioritise. The park was my playground as a child as there is such a community spirit, people want to work together, and we have a fantastic team to help out aswell.”
In addition to the café and garden there is also a range of community events that Ann helps to facilitate, “seeing these events that are so valuable to the community, that keeps me going and drives me along.”
Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE, Leader of Hyndburn Council, was delighted with the news:
“Earlier this year Hyndburn was awarded green flag awards for nine of our parks. These awards recognise the spaces with a mark of excellence; however, this does not happen by accident. The prestigious awards ceremony recognises the people and the teams that support, maintain and create the spaces for their local community.
“Seeing three people from Hyndburn as finalists for these awards is a testament to the hard work we see across our borough, and I hope everyone will join me in celebrating this fantastic achievement. Congratulations to Cath, Ann and Gordon, well done to you all.”
Read more about the green flag awards here: www.greenflagaward.org