TWO parks in a North East town have retained a prestigious international quality award which recognises open spaces meeting the highest possible standards.

Summerhill, a 100-acre country park, and Ward Jackson Park, both in Hartlepool, have retained their Green Flag Awards.

In a record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme which is marking its Silver Jubilee, they are amongst 2,127 locations nationally celebrating success.

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Managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the award scheme recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces - setting the benchmark standard for their management across the UK and around the world.

Summerhill and Ward Jackson Park have both held Green Flags since 2008.

The Northern Echo: Horticulture staff from Hartlepool Borough Council Environmental Services tend to flower beds in Ward Jackson Park.

Councillor Tim Fleming, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult and Community Based Services Committee, said: “This is fantastic news and reflects the on-going commitment we have as an authority to provide high quality parks and open spaces across the whole town for the benefit of residents and visitors.

“Securing a Green Flag Award in the first instance and then retaining it in successive years requires a real team effort. Council staff work closely with a range of volunteers – the Friends of Ward Jackson Park, the Friends of Hartlepool’s Wild Green Spaces and Summerhill’s own team of volunteers – and I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in winning these awards for their dedication and hard work.”

Visitors to the town’s parks are asked to support the work of the Council and volunteer groups by disposing of litter responsibly and clearing up after their dogs.

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