DELIGHTED residents in Copeland have welcomed the news that the borough has been named the second happiest place in the country.

Findings revealed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show Copeland people ranked their happiness levels at 8.2 out of 10, with only Rushmoor in Hampshire - 8.35 - placing higher.

Copeland mayor Mike Starkie wasn't shocked to learn his borough was one of the most joyful.

He said: "I'm pleased – but not surprised – that Copeland ranks so highly in this national survey.

"I've lived here all my life and, although I've travelled around with work, I would not want to have lived or brought my family up anywhere else.

"We have our challenges here, as all areas do, but with beautiful scenery on our doorstep, fascinating history, world-class industry, and great folk, there’s a lot to be happy about."

Overall, British people rated their life satisfaction at 7.7 out of 10 and happiness at 7.5 out of 10. Anxiety scored at 2.9 out of 10.

For happiness, Allerdale ranked at 7.5 out of 10, Carlisle scored 7.2 and Barrow-in-Furness came out with 7.6.

Gerard Richardson, of Richardson's of Whitehaven, who ran the town's Maritime Festivals, also agreed Copeland was a happy place to live.

"It's confirmed what we've known for years," he said. "You tell me what there's not to like, we've got a lovely, varied coastline as well as access to the Lake District. Many parts of Copeland are in the Lake District.

"There's plentiful employment, good walks and towns. It's a beautiful place and people sometimes struggle to see it. You've got to put aside your concerns over transport or infrastructure.

"There's no high rise developments and people crammed in, the whole place is lovely.

"At one time people might have said retail was a downside but with the internet that has changed."

He added that if the Moorside nuclear project was confirmed, ensuring job security, then Copeland could move into first place.