THREE areas of Darlington have secured Green Flag Award Scheme status after impressing inspectors.

The two parks and a cemetery in the town are among the 1,970 UK parks and green spaces to receive the distinction.

South Park, Westpark and the town’s West Cemetery were all awarded the mark which show that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is well maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

Councillor Paul Howell, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and the local environment, said: “We are absolutely delighted to once again receive Green Flag Awards for South Park, Westpark and West Cemetery and look forward to more of our green spaces joining this list.

“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining them to such a high standard. A huge thanks to our staff and local volunteers who work so hard to do this.”

South Park is a Victorian Park with a lake, aviaries, bowling green, café, play areas, skate park and bandstand. It is host to a range of events and activities such as charity fun runs, proms in the park, fitness clubs and sewing club in the education centre. This year marks the park's 13th year as a Green Flag Award winner.

The Northern Echo:

Officially opened in 2005, Westpark, above, was the first new park in Darlington in 100 years and this is its fifth Green Flag Award. It is a modern park with a fusion of art and wild open space. There are stone sculptures and poetry that are integrated with the natural beauty of the wildflower meadows, woods and wetlands.

The Northern Echo:

West Cemetery, above, was established in 1858 and is the final resting place of many of the town’s most prominent residents. It received its first Green Flag Award in 2013.

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”