Scottish pupil named Young School Gardener of the Year in National Gardening Competition

Thursday 13 July 2017

• Fife pupil crowned RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2017 • Scottish Science Teacher named RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2017 • London secondary school scoops School Gardening Team of the Year 2017

A green-fingered ten-year-old from Fife has been named Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Young School Gardener of the Year 2017, supported by Gabriel Ash. Fraser White, who attends Dairsie Primary School near St Andrews, battled against hundreds of other youngsters from across the UK to win the coveted national title.

The annual competition is aimed at unearthing the next generation of star gardeners and Fraser was nominated for the award by his teacher, who described him as “a walking advert for the good gardening can do for a person”.

Fraser impressed the judges with his huge commitment to the school’s community garden and how dedicated he is to sharing his love of gardening. Fraser said that gardening is like “something sent from above” and he has used the school garden to help him make friends, relax and feel calm.

BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter, Frances Tophill, is a competition judge and presented Fraser with his award at RHS Garden Wisley.

Frances said: “What stood out about Fraser is how his life has been transformed through gardening. He clearly loves coming into school to work in the garden and has dedicated himself to sharing his enthusiasm with the rest of the school and wider community.

“Fraser even gives up his Saturdays to help in the garden and has planned and organised gardening activities for the community including a toddler group and a local guild.”

Fraser’s prizes for being crowned RHS Young School Gardener of the Year include an engraved hand trowel trophy, framed certificate and the opportunity to spend the day working with RHS gardeners. His school will receive a Baby Grand Coldframe worth £475 manufactured by Gabriel Ash, £100 worth of seeds and £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers.

School Gardening Champion of the Year
The RHS awards ceremony also saw David Nicol, a science teacher at the Good Shepherd Centre in Bishopton near Glasgow, named the RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2017.

The School Gardening Champion award recognises a teacher or other adult who is passionate about encouraging gardening and an inspiration to the children they teach.

David has worked for six years at the centre which is a secure unit for some of the most disadvantaged and under-represented young people in Scotland. He has gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to build a garden from scratch and engage, interest and inspire those staying at the centre.

Tom Laurie, Head of Education at the centre, who nominated David said: “For most of these young people a garden was something that other people had, or which existed only on television. David has now changed their perceptions completely and given them ownership of, and pride in, their own garden.”

Competition judge and RHS Skills Development Manager, Claire Custance said: “David has made a remarkable difference to the lives of the young people he teaches and is a truly inspirational figure.

“Since introducing gardening at the centre, David has used it to bring the curriculum alive and teach lots of other useful new skills. The young people have been encouraged to eat more healthily and there’s been noticeable improvements to their wellbeing. He’s a very deserving winner.”

As part of his prize David will receive a free place on an RHS Campaign for School Gardening Teaching Training Course and RHS Flower Show tickets.

The Good Shepherd Centre will receive a VIP visit from a celebrity gardener, an Upright Coldframe worth £699 manufactured by Gabriel Ash, £100 worth of seeds and £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers.

School Gardening Team of the Year
A 31-strong group of secondary school pupils from Hammersmith in London have been named RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2017. An award designed to identify an outstanding school team that has shown excellent teamwork and made a difference to their school environment.

The Hammersmith Academy team was commended for not just establishing a garden from scratch in a previously grey area of the school grounds, but their work in the local community. They have greened areas outside the school and have made the garden of a local care home more wildlife friendly. This year, they have started to run workshops to share their gardening skills with local primary schools.

Patrick Kirwan, the KS5 Science Coordinator at the school said: “In just two years our students have made an outstanding horticultural contribution to our school and local community. Our inner city school lacked a much needed area for nature and wildlife and our students have created a tranquil setting where people gather to unwind and relax.”

Zephaniah Lindo, competition judge and a lecturer in horticulture at Capel Manor College, London said: “It’s wonderful to see a group of secondary school pupils so enthusiastic about gardening. They are always encouraging other students to join the gardening club and embrace opportunities to get involved in the wider community.”

Hammersmith Academy’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 £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers and a celebrity gardener will spend a day at the school to work with the gardening team.

Awards were also presented to the following RHS Young School Gardener of the Year category winners:

• Jermaine Pennant Dennis (aged six) from Easton CE Academy, Bristol, who won the Key Stage 1 age group,
• Tallis Inger-Flecker (aged 14) from Writhlington School, Radstock, who came top of the Key Stage 3 age group, and
• Beth Stroud (aged 16) from Todmorden High School, West 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  
 

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Notes to editors

Notes to Editors:
For more information or images please contact Claire Weaver on 020 7821 3688 or claireweaver@rhs.org.uk  

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 over 33,000 schools and groups 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 Outreach team.

Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening online: www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening  

About Gabriel Ash
A leading designer and manufacturer of timber Greenhouses, Vinehouses, Lean-to and Glasshouses in Great Britain, Gabriel Ash are the only timber greenhouse company endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). We regularly appear on programmes such as BBC Gardeners' World and are highly regarded within the industry.

We work closely with many of the country's leading garden designers and landscape architects. Offering a service to industry professional that is second to none and promoting excellence within our trade partners. We are affiliates of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI).

We can help with designs and layouts of our standard and bespoke structures, all part of our service to you. We can also provide you with drawings and base plans on your behalf, for you to submit to your clients, and can even help with the installation should you wish.

Every single one of our structures are made with high quality clear and better grade Western Red Cedar that’s PEFC certified. This means we’re responsible for every piece of timber used. This, and the care of quality craftsmanship is the reason we are the only timber greenhouse manufacturers endorsed by the RHS.

Further information can be found at: www.gabrielash.com

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
 

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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