JUDGES saw Stockton-on-Tees really shine when the Borough took part in Europe's biggest environmental competition.
During a whistle-stop 24-hour visit, judges for the prestigious Entente Florale contest saw all that is best in Stockton last weekend.
They took in all parts of the Borough, including the award-winning Infinity Bridge, Tees Barrage, Thornaby, Ingleby Barwick, Billingham Beck Country Park, Stockton town centre and Wynyard Hall.
At Stockton's Ropner Park, many community groups turned out to greet the 13 judges, who represented 12 European countries taking part in the competition.
The Mayor of Stockton, Councillor Colin Leckonby, led the reception for the visitors and said: "It is such an honour for Stockton to be the only town to represent the UK in Entente Florale 2010.
"The judges gave us many excellent comments and I am sure they left very impressed with what they saw.
"So many people - individuals, from local organisations and within the Council - did so much to back our entry, including businesses across the Borough, sponsoring displays and creating their own floral arrangements.
"The sun shone, everything looked at its very best and it was great to see Ropner Park look so magnificent."
The judges flew in from Jersey at the end of a week-long tour of inspection which also took in towns and villages in Belgium and France.
They were looking for more than simply the quality of the environment. Some had a background in professions such as economics and town planning and wanted to see how the area's regeneration took in factors such as environmentally and ecologically sensitive development.
Stockton's entry was its reward for winning a Gold award in last year's Britain in Bloom awards.
The winners are announced during September.