London pupil named Young School Gardener of the Year in National RHS Competition

Friday 8 July 2016

● Fred Wilcox from Trafalgar Infant School, Twickenham, named RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2016 ● Lisburn parent volunteer named School Gardening Champion of the Year ● Stafford School clinches School Gardening Team of the Year award

A green-fingered six-year-old London school pupil has been named Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Young School Gardener of the Year 2016. Fred Wilcox, who attends the Trafalgar Infant School in Twickenham, beat youngsters from the across the country to the coveted national title.

At an awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley on 2 July Fred, who one judge described as ‘a young David Attenborough’, was presented with his award by RHS student and current Institute of Horticulture ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year’ Lawrence Wright.

Speaking about Fred’s love of gardening, Rachel Hutchins, Sustainability Coordinator at Fred’s school said: “Fred is a wonderful young lad and a key member of our school’s eco team. I have led our eco team for over 4 years and have never come across a young person with such enthusiasm. He has proved to be a talented gardener and eco warrior and in my opinion, deserves credit for his efforts as an eco-champion.”

Competition judge and RHS Skills Development Manager Claire Custance said: “Fred is like a young David Attenborough with his wonderful understanding of why bugs and minibeasts are important. He is also very natural in the garden, showing off the sensory areas and explaining what they are each for.”

Fellow judge and Curator of RHS Garden Harlow Carr Robert Brett, added: “Fred showed some brilliant demonstrations of planting and taking cuttings, which are amazing to see is someone who is only six years old. He is clearly an ideas man, thinking of ways to improve the garden and encourage other children to get involved.”

Fred’s prizes for winning the title includes a certificate to mark his success, a commemorative engraved trowel and £500 in gardening vouchers and £100 worth of Thompson & Morgan seeds for his school. He’ll also have the opportunity to spend a day working with RHS gardeners and will receive tickets for either RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017 or RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2017.

School Gardening Champion of the Year:
The RHS ceremony also saw Sharon McMaster, a Lisburn parent volunteer at Ballcarrickmaddy Primary School, named the RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year.

The Gardening Champion is an adult who inspires young people and who has shown a passion for encouraging gardening in their school, as well as an ability to link gardening to the curriculum.

Ballcarrickmaddy Principal Colin Ford, who nominated Sharon for the award said: “Sharon has established a fantastic garden at Ballycarrickmaddy Primary School on account of her enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge. All children, from P1 – P7, participate in a highly structured, annual rolling program of gardening activities that includes planting, harvesting and general maintenance of the garden.

“In addition to all of the gardening undertaken by pupils and staff, Sharon also runs two Saturday clubs for children who do and do not attend Ballycarrickmaddy. The inclusion of children from the wider community has had a positive impact on the school as their parents are so impressed with the gardening undertaken by our pupils they have enrolled their own children at our school.

“Most of the children who attend the afternoon session are past pupils, so their continued participation demonstrates the enjoyment levels to be had as a result of taking part in the range of gardening and cooking opportunities facilitated by Sharon.”

Competition judge and RHS Skills Development Manager Claire Custance said: “It’s incredibly admirable that Sharon gives up so much of her free time to volunteer at the school and give the children the chance to learn in the garden. It is clear from the endorsement of the Head Teacher that her enthusiasm and dedication is invaluable to the school.”

As part of her prize Sharon will receive a free place on an RHS school gardening training day or adult learning course at an RHS Garden. She will also receive two adult and up to four children’s tickets for either the 2017 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show or RHS Tatton Park Flower Show.

Ballcarrickmaddy Primary School will receive £100 worth of Thompson & Morgan seeds and £250 in National Garden Gift Vouchers in addition to the £250 of vouchers they received when Sharon secured a place in the finals.

School Gardening Team of the Year:
A15-strong group of pupils from Stafford Manor High School in Stafford have been named School Gardening Team of the Year2016.

The category, which is designed to recognise an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference to their school environment, was created for teams such as Stafford Manor that share a passion for gardening and display excellent teamwork.

Gordon Taylor, DT Technician at Stafford Manor School said: “Stafford Manor High School is a small school, at the heart of a tough, working-class community. Exam results aren’t that good, but new and engaging projects such as the garden are part of the transformational plan.

“Local support is strong; contacts have unstintingly provided offcut timber to build ten raised beds and tonnes of recycled topsoil to fill them. The whole Y7 cohort has responded superbly, taking on every task with unbridled enthusiasm.

“The children’s vegetables are growing and we’re going to cook with them in the summer. For our school, for our children, for dozens of different reasons, our garden is unbelievably important.”

Competition judge and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Frances Tophill said: “It’s wonderful to see a secondary aged group working so brilliantly together in the garden. Every student in the group gets stuck in whether it’s using power tools to construct raised beds, wood staining the raised beds, shovelling compost or watering the plants. They all carry out their work with a smile on their face – and the occasional song!”

Stafford Manor’s winning team will be presented with their prize of a Classic 'Eight' cedar greenhouse, donated by Gabriel Ash at an event later in the year. They will also receive £250 worth of Thompson & Morgan seeds and £250 in National Garden Gift Vouchers, in addition to the £250 worth of vouchers they received when they secured a place in the finals. A celebrity gardener will also spend a day at Stafford Manor to work with the gardening team.

Awards were also presented the following Young Schools Gardener of the Year category winners:

• Kenzo Marbrow-Wright, (aged 10), from Rosliston CE Primary School, Swadlincote who won the Key Stage 2 age group,
• Molly Hall, (aged 14), from Collingwood College, Camberley who came top of the Key Stage 3 age group, and
• Matthew Cossins, (aged 15) from Ryedale School in Helmsley, Yorkshire, who was named winner of the Key Stage 4 age group.
Videos created by the winning gardeners to support their entries can be viewed alongside those of other finalists on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/RHSSchoolGardening .

The RHS Young School Gardener of the Year competition forms part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening - the UK’s largest school gardening campaign - supporting around 29,000 schools across the UK to get stuck in, create their own gardens and inspire the gardeners and botanists of the future. For more information on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening visit www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 / garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk, or Alana Tapsell, Schools’ Communications Officer, on 01483 212 387 / alanatapsell@rhs.org.uk.

Images are available from PhotoShelter at www.rhs.photoshelter.com. Registration is a simple process and free of charge. Please contact pressoffice@rhs.org.uk  to gain access.

-Ends-

Notes to editors

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which actively involves more than 29,000 schools across the UK in growing and gardening. Children are taught about plants and gardening and their environment. Through gardening they learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way provides huge benefits. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors. Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening online: rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening .

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262
 

Latest press releases

About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262