WEYMOUTH Beach has once again been named one of the best in the country.

Keep Britain Tidy announced the winners of the 2014 Blue Flag and Seaside Awards today.

Beach businesses welcomed the award and said they hoped it came before the start of a bumper tourism season.

Weymouth Beach kept its Seaside Award, formerly the Quality Coast Award, which recognises those shores with the highest standards of beach management, facilities, cleanliness and which meet guidelines for water quality.

Weymouth and Portland Borough councillor Ian Bruce, spokesman for leisure and tourism, said: “We are delighted to receive this award again but special thanks has to go to the wonderful beach team that we have. We take great pride in keeping the beach clean and I must say that our visitors are becoming more aware of how important it is to take their rubbish home with them.”

He added: “It is this type of award that is so important to publicise to people who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Weymouth Beach that it is something that should be on their ‘bucket and spade’ list.”

The council doesn’t enter the Blue Flag section of the awards which demand the highest international standard of water quality.

The South West boasts the most award-winning beaches in the country – with 49 named in the region this year.

In total, 19 beaches have gained the Blue Flag and 30 have picked up the Seaside Award in the South West.

That means the region will be flying more flags than any other region in the country this summer.

Melanie Rush, owner of the Weymouth Beach donkeys, said: “I think it is brilliant that Weymouth has been recognised in this way once again.

“Let us hope it will mark the start to a good tourism season.”

Professor Mark Poulton, one of Britain’s few remaining full-time Punch-and-Judy performers and a well-known figure on Weymouth’s beach, said: “It is fantastic for Weymouth and it is well deserved.

“The award will help to raise the profile of Weymouth and hopefully bring more people into the resort.”

He added that his summer season shows will begin on Saturday. Across the country, 56 beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag, while 112 have gained a new Seaside Award.

Awards give tourists confidence
RICHARD Mcllwain, programmes director for the charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: “It’s fantastic news for everyone who loves visiting the seaside that 49 beaches will be flying a flag in the South West that guarantees the public the best facilities and the cleanest beaches this summer.

“Keep Britain Tidy is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee and over the last 60 years we have tirelessly campaigned to improve the quality of our local environment. We have some fantastic coastline and we know that communities up and down the country love their beaches.

“They provide opportunities for people to get outside, relax and have fun for free, whilst visitors to our beaches often provide support for local jobs and inward investment at sea front resorts.

“We know that for many holidaymakers and day- trippers clean, safe beaches, with good water quality and facilities are important factors in deciding which beach to visit and the continuing quality of management at these beaches is a real testament to the dedication, hard work and investment that local authorities and other beach managers put in year after year. The sight of the Blue Flag flying gives visitors the reassurance that they’ll have a great time.”