Thursday 26 June 2014
School gardening stars recognised in national competition
George Hassall, eight years old, from Buckton Vale Primary School in Carrbrook, near Greater Manchester has been named RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2014 after wowing judges with his infectious enthusiasm, passion and impressive knowledge of gardening.
Noreen Daw, Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Imberhorne School in East Grinstead, West Sussex was also awarded RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2014 for her incredible dedication to school gardening, and a 39-strong Eco Club from Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St Asaph, Denbighshire was named RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2014 for their unwavering teamwork and enthusiasm.
The panel of judges, which included ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter, Frances Tophill, broadcaster and gardening editor, Peter Seabrook and Head of Site at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Ian Le Gros, were bowled over by the standard of entries of the 20 finalists chosen for each of the three awards.
Between January and May this year, over 200 nominations for pupils, gardening clubs and colleagues were sent by schools to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. 12 finalists were selected for RHS Young School Gardener of the Year and four finalists for both RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year and RHS School Gardening Team of the Year. Each of the finalists was given a digital camcorder to make a short film that would show the judging panel their knowledge and passion for gardening.
George Hassall beat off stiff competition to be awarded winner of the 7-11 age group and the title of RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2014. Awards were also given to Kodey Holt, six from Ampney Crucis C of E Primary School in Gloucestershire who was winner of the 5-7 age group, David Scott Cavey, 14 from Stoke Damerel Community College in Devon who came top of the 11-14 age group and Jacob Coles, from Writhlington School in Somerset who was the winner of the 14-16 age group.
Frances Tophill said: “From the moment we watched George’s video, we could all see a young star emerging. For someone so young, his gardening knowledge is incredible and it became clear that his enthusiasm reaches out to the school as a whole, as well as the local community. He is a natural gardener and a young presenter in the making; I’m sure with his passion and cheeky personality we’ll be seeing him on our TV screens before long!”
RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2014, Noreen Daw, proved to be a hit with the judges with her video showing her to be a dedicated and generous member of staff. With no gardening background, Noreen worked hard to learn a variety of skills from scratch in order to pass them onto her students, helping those who were passionate about gardening, as well as students with behavioural difficulties who have thrived by working on a number of outdoor projects. Judges described Noreen as an “inspiration”, “incredibly committed” and “a credit to her school”.
Winners of RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2014, Ysgol Esgob Morgan, were chosen for their fantastic teamwork and enthusiasm. Over just a couple of years, the group has developed the schools grounds into a gardening haven, complete with their resident chickens, and has helped improve the local community by litter picking and planting up banks of the River Elwy. Older members of the team were shown to take on a mentoring role, passing on skills to younger members of the group so it can continue to grow and develop in the future, as well as sharing skills with children from other schools to help them develop their own gardens.
Peter Seabrook said: “Each year this competition shows us just what young people are achieving across the UK and the standard is always outstanding. The introduction of the two additional categories is also a fantastic way of recognising the team efforts of schools and also the teachers who lead them to success.”
George, Noreen and the Eco Club at Esgob Morgan will each receive £500 in gardening vouchers for their school and an engraved trowel as their trophy. George will also win a selection of tools, a day working at an RHS garden and tickets to an RHS Flower Show next year. Noreen has won RHS membership for a year, a day working at an RHS garden and a place on a school gardening training course. Esgob Morgan has won a selection of tools, gardening gloves for each club member and a fantastic Keder Greenhouse worth £1,855.
Sarah Cathcart, Head of Education & Learning at the RHS says: “We are all delighted for George, Noreen and the team at Esgob Morgan, each of them is a shining example of what can be achieved in school. We’d also like the thank every school that sent in a nomination this year, it’s wonderful to read through the applications and discover so many individuals who are giving their time to improving their school grounds, local community and also helping and inspiring others.”
All 20 finalists’ videos can be viewed on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening’s YouTube page at youtube.com/RHSSchoolGardening.
The RHS Young School Gardener of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening which is now supporting almost 19,000 schools across the UK. RHS research has shown that gardening can help children develop by teaching them life skills and improving their wellbeing.
Notes to editors
For more information and images, please contact Alana Tapsell, Schools Communications Officer for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or email email@example.com
About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS actively involves almost 19,000 schools across the UK in growing and gardening through its Campaign for School 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. Huge benefits are to be had from using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS education team and Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors. rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley 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.
Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment. rhs.org.uk.
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 rhs.org.uk/join.
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262