PEOPLE across Darlington are urged to help the town regain its Northumbria in Bloom crown.

The town won the title six times in a row, but last year lost out to Stockton.

Darlington Borough Council is determined to win the title back and is calling on schoolchildren, businesses and residents to pitch in.

The council is preparing high standard floral displays, planted beds and hanging baskets around the borough and will step up efforts to keep parks and open spaces neat and tidy over coming months.

Darlington in Bloom, the council's annual gardening competition, gives local people and businesses the opportunity to showcase their gardening talents.

The council hopes the efforts made towards Darlington in Bloom will strengthen its entry in the Northumbria in Bloom competition.

The council will provide plants and flowers so pupils can create bright and innovative displays. It is hoped as many schools as possible take part with pupils designing and planting their own flowerbeds.

Community groups will be asked to help and members of the council's parks and open spaces team will meet groups over the coming weeks to discuss how people can get involved.

Lee Vasey, council's cabinet member for leisure, said: "We all have a real chance to strengthen Darlington's entry into this year's Northumbria in Bloom competition.

"We are hoping as many local residents, community groups and schools as possible will get involved this year and make our entry a real community effort."

For details about Darlington in Bloom, schools participation or Darlington's Northumbria in Bloom entry, call (01325) 347541.