BLOOMING former pit sites has provided inspiration for a flower bed competition.

Chester-le-Street District Council has submitted an entry to a national flower show for councils. Entitled Sunset on our Mining Past, it is designed to reflect the reclamation of colliery sites in the region. A record number of competitors will be taking part in the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom National Flowerbed Competition in Cheshire next month.

Nineteen local authorities are taking part in the contest, which runs from July 17 to July 21. They will be using 50,000 plants provided by international floriculturists Ball Colegrave.

Show manager for the RHS Max de Soissons said: "This will be the first year that the competition has achieved national status and I'm confident that these designs will commemorate it beautifully."