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Blooming success for garden competition winners

A BUDDING young gardener from Penkside was amongst the green-fingered enthusiasts recognised in an annual garden awards held by a Staffordshire housing association.

Bethany Draper, aged 12, from Meadow Road, won ‘Young Gardener of Year’ at Stafford and Rural Homes’ (SARH) garden awards.

The category – new to the awards this year – was presented for Bethany’s bountiful plot of fruit and vegetables at the Meadow Road community allotment.

The allotment project led by SARH and Stafford Borough Council, saw an area of SARH land that has been unused for 30 years, turned into a mixture of community and family allotments, which were opened earlier this year.

“I was really shocked but excited to win the award.  The allotment is absolutely fantastic and I’ve really enjoyed working on it in the last few months,” said Bethany Draper.

Bethany also chose to donate her prize to the allotment project.

Over 65 people, including the Mayor of Stafford Councillor Angela Loughran, attended the awards, held at SARH’s head office, at The Rurals, where the Chief Executive Karen Armitage presented the winners with their prizes.

“The garden awards is our chance to thank customers for the great care and effort they take in their gardens and helping to make their local communities a brighter and more attractive place to live,” said Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH.

David Kingsbury, from Ivy House Drive, in Derrington, was on hand to collect the award for best allotment/vegetable garden for the third year running.

Best communal border went to residents at Hall Close Independent Living Scheme, in Silkmore, and the best window box/container/hanging basket went to Herbert Murfin, from the Uplands, in Great Haywood.

The award for best back garden was won by Thomas Simkin, from Croxton, and best front garden went to Sharon Dunn, from Mynors Street.

Customers at SARH’s Lotus Court Independent Living Scheme, in Stone, were celebrating after they won the Best Communal Garden category.

The competition was judged by SARH staff Sandra Shipperley and Lesley Hanlon, customer judge Margaret Jordan and a Greenfingers Grounds Maintenance expert, Patrick Collins.  

Winners received a trophy and a B&Q gift voucher. Runners-up also received a gift voucher and certificate and everyone who took part received a pack of flower bulbs and a certificate of appreciation.

There was also special recognition for SARH customer Paul Jesney, who was awarded with a gift voucher and certificate for his community spirit, as he works on three other adjacent gardens for his neighbours who are not able to garden.

Customers were also treated to a special presentation by Ron Rock, from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, highlighting the plight of British bees, the important role they play in the garden and how people can help them to thrive in their gardens.

The awards concluded with three special poems including one called ‘Ode to Gardening’ by SARH customer Dot Arnell, from Dove Close, in Stafford.

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