ETHIOPIAN Airlines has marked its first anniversary of flights from the North of England by donating a rose bush featuring the nation’s famous flowers to Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham alongside three other northern gardens.

The North-East is one of the top five regions to fly with the airline from Manchester this year since it launched flights from the Northern hub last December. More than 5,000 residents have jetted off to Ethiopia or other African destinations.

To celebrate the rise in flights from the North to Africa, and the host of tourism and economic benefits that it brings to the North East of England, Ethiopian Airlines donated a rose bush and bouquet of Ethiopian roses to Crook Hall & Gardens.

Roses are the biggest export on the airline’s flights to Manchester, bringing in over 26 tonnes each month. Other key cargo includes machinery and garments.

The bush was presented to Paul Brown at Crook Hall & Gardens, by Manchester Airport’s Alex Nash on behalf of Ethiopian Airlines, and will be grown in its iconic rose garden.

Michael Yohannes, country manager UK from Ethiopian Airlines, said: “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our inaugural year in at Manchester Airport, and we couldn’t think of a better way than bringing a touch of Ethiopia to Durham.

"We are proud to have flown thousands of customers from the North East and beyond to Ethiopia and some of the other wonderful countries in Africa. The rose bush donation is a symbol of the growth of the airline across the North.”

Keith and Maggie Bell from Crook Hall and Gardens added: “We’re thrilled to welcome this new addition to our beautiful rose garden and look forward to the connections between these two destinations blooming and blossoming further.”