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Green-fingered winners celebrate award success
Stafford’s largest landlord has been celebrating the blooming success of its customers by handing out awards during a special event at its headquarters in Parker Court.
The Mayors of Stafford and Stone, Cllr Geoffrey Ronald Collier and Cllr Jim Davies, joined dozens of local residents at the Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) annual Garden Awards presentation where honours were handed out over a range of categories.
The awards were presented by Chris Poulton, Director of Asset Management and Development at SARH, who said: “Every year the gardens have been fantastic, but this year we saw an exceptional rise in the standards, across both traditional categories, such as Best Front and Back Garden, and new ones we’ve introduced in 2016.
“The fact that we presented 10 awards this year, reflects the fact we’re currently celebrating our tenth anniversary year, and the new categories included Best Shed, Most Creative Use of Space and Best Wildlife Eco Garden.
Among the winners on the day were two brothers, Jake and Dennis Rock, who jointly picked up the award for Young Gardener of the Year. They were recognised for their efforts in helping to turn a derelict patch of land in Stone into a thriving community allotment.
Dennis, 12, said: “When we first came across the allotment, it was just a waste land! Over 12 months we transformed it into a beautiful place to grow vegetables and we enjoy every moment spent there.
“We were so excited when we received the award and we are going to keep the allotment clear of weeds over the winter, ready to plant again in the spring.”
The allotments in Priory Road, Stone, are part of a wider Growing Health Project, a joint initiative between SARH and Stafford Borough Council. One of the other plots on the site is tended by young people from the WhyCH Youth Group, who were named runners up in the Best Wildlife / Eco Garden category.
The winner for Best Front Garden for the second year running was retired farm worker Thomas Simkin from Croxton. Mr Simkin said: “I am truly honoured to receive this award again, it came as a surprise but my wife and I are delighted to be winners again.”
Other winners announced during the special awards event at the housing association’s headquarters at The Rurals, Parker Court, Stafford, included:
• Ms Buttery, Stafford – Best Back Garden
• Mr Hambleton, Croxton – Best Wildlife / Eco Garden
• Mr and Mrs Rock, Stone – Best Allotment
• Mr Jarratt, Stafford – Best Water Feature
• Mr and Mrs Elkin, Haughton – Most Creative Use of Space
• Mrs Harvey, Doxey – Best Shed
• Mike Smith, Stone – Community Gardener
Another award category, Best Communal Garden, was dedicated to Shirley Wheat, a former SARH board member who sadly passed away this year. The award was won by residents from Jubilee Court.
Chris added: “These awards provide an ideal opportunity to celebrate the efforts of our customers to make the areas they live in more pleasant and environmentally friendly places.
“We would like to thank everyone who turned up at the ceremony, our sponsors and our guest speaker, Joan Hudson, from the RSPB local group of Staffordshire.”
Pictured: Jake (centre) and Dennis Rock pick up their award from Chris Poulton, Director of Asset Management and Development at SARH.