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Community learning | Green-fingered winners celebrate award success
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Green-fingered winners celebrate award success

Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) has been celebrating the horticultural skills of its customers and hailed its latest garden competition a blooming success.

At a special awards event last week, SARH Chief Executive Karen Armitage told winners, runners-up and those who narrowly missed out on prizes that the standard of entries this year had been higher than ever.

“The competition has run for more than a decade and every year I say the gardens are even more beautiful than the previous year,” she said. “I’m delighted to say that this year is no exception!”

Open to all SARH customers, the competition has become one of the highlights of the summer with dozens of local residents competing 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 the awards event at the housing association’s headquarters at The Rurals, Parker Court, Stafford, was retired farm worker Thomas Simkin from Croxton who scooped top honours in the Best Front Garden category.

“Although we’ve won before, it’s wonderful to win again and a great surprise,” said Thomas, who has lived in the village for 40 years. “As I used to work on a farm, I must have green blood as well green fingers and I really love spending time in the garden.

“My wife Pauline comes up with the ideas and I get on with the planting so it’s a real team effort as we redesign the garden every year.”

Other winners named at the SARH Garden Awards event included:
• Mr Kirkham, Coppice Gardens – Best Back Garden
• Andrew Edwards – Young Gardener of the Year
• Mr and Mrs Mufin, Best Hanging Basket or Container
• Jubilee Court, Stafford – Best Communal Garden
• Mike Smith, Collingwood Court – Community Spirit Award

Karen added, “Every year, the awards provide an ideal opportunity to celebrate the efforts of our customers to make the areas they live more beautiful places, whether they have a full garden, a window box or a hanging basket. At the same time gardening helps people to get together and share ideas whilst building a sense of community.”

Pictured: SARH customers Thomas and Pauline Simkin of Croxton, winners of the Best Front Garden award

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