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Green-fingered winners celebrate award success
Open to all customers of Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH), the organisation’s annual Gardens competition has become one of the highlights of the summer with dozens of local residents opening up their gardens to a team of judges.
This year the standard was higher than ever, with top-class entries in a range of categories covering window boxes, borders and allotments as well as more traditional front and back gardens.
Among the winners, announced during a special award ceremony at the housing association’s headquarters, were Gail Cotterill of Pitt Street, Stafford, who was joint winner in the Best Back Garden category, and Keith and Pauline Buckley of Coppice Gardens, Stone, who scooped top honours for Best Front Garden.
“This was only the second year I’ve entered, so winning was a huge surprise,” said Gail, who works as a waitress and has gradually developed her gardening skills since moving into her home 20 years ago.
“Sweet Williams are my favourite flowers and I just love working in the garden, which is something I never thought of doing until I moved into my own home.”
Retired machine operator Keith Buckley says gardening has always been one of his hobbies and the garden at his home in Stone has been something of a labour of love.
“We first moved in around 46 years ago, and I’ve always been keen on having a nice garden,” he explained. “I had never entered it in any competition until a couple years ago when someone from the housing association suggested we should. After winning the runners-up award previously, it’s fantastic to win this time around.”
Other winners named at the SARH Garden Awards event included: • Ms S Hagan-clay of Swinburne Close, joint Back Garden winner. • Andrew Edwards, Young Gardener of the Year. • Mrs S Peet & Mr D Hanlon of Yarlet Court, Stafford, Hanging Basket and Container winners. • Mr D Kingsbury of Ivy House Drive, Barlaston, for Best Allotment. • Mr J Birtles of Hopton Court, Stafford, winner of the Community Spirit Award.
A special award was also presented to Mrs A Merideth and Ms C Cammeron of Lichfield Court for Best Communal Garden.
Karen Armitage, SARH Chief Executive, commented: “The Awards provided an ideal opportunity for the keen gardeners living in our properties to get together and share their tips on making the most of the space they have available. This could be a border, window box, communal area, allotment or full front or back garden.”
During the awards event, Karen also thanked a number of local companies and organisations that supported the competition, including Stafford Borough Council who put forward guest speaker Chris Brown to talk about the benefits of composting.
“The awards also gave us the chance to recognise and support the efforts our customers are making to improve the areas where they live whilst throwing the spotlight on some hidden garden gems,” Karen said.
“Judging from the entries we have had again this year, we certainly have some very talented gardeners amongst our customers!”