AN appeal has been issued for townspeople to support efforts to win a top award in this year's Northumbria in Bloom competition.

Individuals, businesses and community groups are all being urged to do their bit to brighten up Hartlepool and make it look as attractive as possible.

And they are being asked to inform Keeley Metcalfe, Hartlepool Borough Council's community environmental action officer, of their efforts ahead of visits by the judges next month and in July.

She is co-ordinating the judges' visits, and is drawing up a route for them to follow through the town, although they will also tour areas independently.

Ms Metcalfe wants people to contact her so that she can include as many examples of good environmental work as possible along the route.

"I already know that a lot of very good work is being carried out around the town, but we certainly aren't aware of everything that is being done," she said.

"I want to hear, for example, from businesses that have carried out work to brighten up their premises, or householders with particularly impressive front gardens, so that we can include them in the route that the judges will take."

Anyone wishing to support the town's bid for success in the small city category can contact Ms Metcalfe on (01429) 284172.