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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
City celebrates top floral award
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Sheffield is the biggest city in Europe to win a gold award
Sheffield has won a top European award for its flowers, parks and open spaces.

The city has been given a gold medal in the Entente Florale competition - a prestigious event for European cities.

The judges assess entrants against strict criteria in relation to floral displays, park and green space management and environmental factors.

City council leader Jan Wilson said: "Winning gold for Entente Florale will rightfully put Sheffield on the map for the beautiful city it is."

Tough competition

Sheffield, which is the biggest city to have won gold in the competition, fought off competition from France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

The judges toured the city in July, visiting attractions such as the Winter Garden, one of Europe's largest temperate glasshouses, which opened in 2001, and the famous city centre Peace Gardens.

President of the judges, Luke Griffin, a senior adviser to Ireland's environment minister, said: "I was very surprised by how much Sheffield has changed and developed over the years.

"They have proved themselves to be a green and environmentally-sustainable city."

England's entrants last year were Harrogate in the towns category and Darley in the villages category, both North Yorkshire communities winning gold.

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